It started last Friday when I saw a video of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden delivering cookies to the National Guard at the Capitol in appreciation of their service protecting her and her family during the inauguration. I sent it to Red with the brief subject line, "Class act" and nothing in the body of the email except the link. Throughout the day, we take "brain breaks" and after Red watched it, she called to tell me how she was extremely touched by the simple gesture. Not only because she could relate to how many times over the years she had baked "thank you" cookies and brownies, but because she knows first-hand how protective moms are about their families, and especially their children. Never one to be succinct, she explained how she could "totally relate" to how your maternal instinct always seems to be front and center. Then adding how the fact Dr. Biden was also a military mom only meant her desire to show her appreciation to the National Guard was even stronger.

So, when it came time to pick the topic of our next Banter Bite, Red immediately suggested the cookie story. But I hesitated. I was concerned that this might have been staged to offset the uproar about the National Guard, who initially had been resting and napping in the Capitol, but post-inauguration had been relocated to nearby parking garages. (This was subsequently remedied.) Instead, our Saturday Banter Bite, which tend to be "feel good" or, at least, less serious ones, was about Ben & Jerry's new doggie treats.

But, I could not stop thinking about the "cookie story" … and the fact it seemed true to character to who Dr. Biden is, so whether or not it was orchestrated for the media, it still was an authentic reflection of our new First Lady. A woman displaying gratitude, decency, and grace. A role model for us all.

And, I could not stop thinking about my initial reaction, as I have always prided myself on giving people the benefit of the doubt. (Red often jokes that I am much better at that than she is, even though she is the warm and fuzzy one!). But why did I not do so this time? Is it a reflection of how jaded we have all become? Is that what the last four years has done to us?

If nothing else, just knowing we have become jaded is a step in the right direction. But I could not let it end there. So, early Saturday morning (well, early for Red, as I am usually up well before 6 a.m.), I called Red and said I was wrong not to run with the "cookie story" and explained why. Which explains why we will do it this Saturday.

Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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