Words & Banter

More Than A Queen. A Symbol Of Royal Perfection.

Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust

Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I knew, like most people, that Queen Elizabeth II was in her last days. But when the news came, as expected as it was, it still made me sad. Not because I had lived in England for many years. Nor because I love English history, especially the Tudors, which, I might add, included Queen Elizabeth I. But because she unflaggingly, for 70 years (!), seemed never to make a wrong step, but always had the vision of how to “be Queen” perfectly in her sights, which meant putting country above self.

And while she wasn’t perfect, as none of us are, I defy anyone to walk the balancing act she did over the decades. Encountering changes and challenges not only personally, but as the symbolic head of state for her country … and doing it with grace, dignity, and respect.

Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I leave the history to Red, but I cannot stop thinking about how most of Great Britain has only known one head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. For that matter, that is true of Canada and the many other countries where the British Monarch is head of state.

She was a link to an almost vanished generation yet was a rock that helped stabilize decades of significant social change (and, family challenges) with dignity and humility. She was both an institution and an icon, and her loss will be enormous … for the family, the country, and the world. Queen Elizabeth II was a ruler for the ages, over the ages …

Warm and fuzzy? Yes, and proud of it, too. After graduating with a degree in Theater Arts, Tina Pennington (aka “Red”) met an Englishman, fell in love, and traveled the world. His career took them everywhere, with stints in the Netherlands, England, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, until they moved to Texas in the early 2000s.

With two red-headed children, Sawyer and Natasha, and one red labradoodle, Red had the picture-perfect suburban life. That was until … her husband got fired. What had seemed like a fairy tale life soon unraveled to reveal something far from it.

Years later, it ended up having a happy ending, as Red says, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

If you think today’s politics are ugly … let’s talk about a man who named himself “dictator for life” of the Roman empire, and is then assassinated by a group of senators, including his best friend. (However, there’s a “pretty” part – Cleopatra was his mistress.) Food trivia and leadership lessons aside, the fact July is named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

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Pragmatic and blunt? Yes, with more than a hint of sarcasm. Unlike her sister, Mandy Williams (aka “Black”) is all business. With an MBA in International Finance from NYU and London Business School, Black was a driven executive who retired from the male-dominated oil and gas industry before she was 40. Boredom quickly set in, so she began racing Porsches, then Ferraris, and became the first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis.

Living in Texas, Black has been involved with the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for decades and has raised over $1 million.

Black often says, “You have two choices in life – you can be the passenger along for the ride, or the driver and steer where you want to go.”