Make it rhyme … and it will pass the test of time …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It seems that Vermont has been on Red's mind a lot lately, but this memory from her years in the very cold and very rural state isn't one that she could've predicted not only remembering but sharing with her family as "words of wisdom" in the midst of an unprecedented winter storm in Texas.

It all started when Black called Red to let her know that the widespread power outages would soon result in a water crisis (serious shortages due to damaged infrastructure, offline treatment plants, and freezing pipes), so she might want to fill her bathtubs to have a reserve of water, noting it was not drinkable without first boiling it, but could be used to "flush" the toilets.

Red had already lost power but luckily still had water, but taking her usual overly cautious (some might say paranoid) approach, she immediately started filling the bathtubs explaining to her family, "If it's brown, flush it down. If it's yellow, let it mellow." After the usual moans and groans, and declaring, "That's gross," Red made it clear that she wasn't kidding.

She then realized it had been decades since she had thought about that rhyme, remembering she first heard it when a kid on one of her family's trips to Vermont, yet it came back to her right away. And before she gave it any more thought, decided to share it with her sister. But rather than being grossed out or even amused, Black responded with a very Black-like comment. It may not have been what Red was expecting or even wanted, but she had to admit made a lot of sense …

So, it takes a devastating Texas winter storm with widespread power outages and loss of water to make you think about water conservation … and selective flushing?

Want good customer service? Good behavior is a good start.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We grew up hearing the expression "the customer is always right," and Red certainly agreed with it; and while Black understood the customer service aspect of it, she did question its impact on employees (why would you "automatically" side with a customer over an employee without knowing the details). And that was before the pandemic changed everything, but especially customer behavior.

Until recently, Red didn't think much about why the customer was "always right," but it reminded her of years ago when Black shared her amusing (or, at least, to Red) version of the Golden Rule, "He who has the gold, rules. "So, wouldn't that also apply to customers? Wouldn't a happy customer be a loyal customer?

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Normally, you shred important papers before trashing them … not expensive art after selling it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red will admit that she's never been into art, except for the Tudor paintings section of the National Portrait Gallery in London, but that's because she loves Tudor history. And although she's been to plenty of art museums, they were more to "tick off" places on her tourist "to do" list than a genuine desire to see the art. That even includes the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris! (When in Paris, Black was content to go to the Louvre-Rivoli Metro station as the platforms themselves were decorated with art replicas found inside the Louvre Museum.)

Black can't remember when she first became interested in contemporary art, although it went to a whole new level when her second husband asked her to acquire an investment-quality collection. In typical Black fashion, she not only researched the art market and worked with an art consultant, but became friends with several leading artists with whom she shared a mutual passion … cars and racing.

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Take one famous actor, a brilliant billionaire, and mix in space travel. Sound like the start of a sci-fi movie or an example of how truth can be stranger than fiction?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Red recently learned that the actor William Shatner was going to be on board the second Blue Origin's space mission (now delayed until tomorrow due to weather), she admitted that she's more interested in history than current events, so compared it to the historic initial launch on July 20, which included 82-year-old Wally Funk. However, at 90-years-old, Shatner will become the oldest person ever to take a trip to space. (Talk about two great role models of inspiration and passion not having age limits.)

Meanwhile, at the risk of alienating (pun intended) Star Trek fans, Red's only seen a few of the movies, and Black has seen none, but we both have fond memories of watching the original TV show with our dad, who loved the show. So, we can't resist (like everyone else) quoting the opening monologue and its proclamation "to boldly go where no man has gone before."

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