Words & Banter

In Memory Of Bob Dole (1923 – 2021)

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I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Bob Dole, not because I followed his career or knew all his accomplishments, but because I knew enough to recognize and appreciate that he was one of the last of a dying breed – a true civil servant. Today, all too often, I feel that many politicians choose “public service” as a high-profile career path with great job benefits vs. a passion and commitment to America and to making things better for all Americans. For me, Bob Dole represented the best of what someone who goes into government is about – civility, commitment, honor, hard work, the willingness to work with others – and all to achieve what is best, not for themselves, but for their country.

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Bob Dole overcame serious World War II combat wounds, represented Kansas in Congress for 35 years as a bipartisan champion for all Americans, and unsuccessfully ran for president three times. Yet, he never lost his optimism or his wit. (Just three days after losing his bid for President against Bill Clinton, when David Letterman asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Apparently, not enough.”) But what most impressed me is that he continued to serve the American people, making the World War II Memorial a reality and devoting himself to disability legislation. And, I will never forget the moving image of Bob Dole at President George H. W. Bush’s funeral in December 2018 – being helped out of his wheelchair to stand and pay final respects with a salute.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

Life can change in an instant, and the repercussions not only begin instantly but will forever change your life. And often, the lives of others.

However, there was no way to know on that rainy Friday, Red’s crisis would be the start of her journey to take control of her life instead of letting her life control her. It wasn’t surprising that Black’s version of that day was very different, but that may have contributed to the creation of Red & Black … and our journey filled with many detours …

So, curious how Red & Black started? Well, on the surface, it would seem our journey started with the launch of the book I co-authored with my sister, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired! But we all know that what leads up to the "start" of a journey can be just as important, and sometimes even more important. It's like a vacation, the actual vacation falls somewhere in the middle – after the planning and packing and before the post-vacation "recovery" phases that always seen to include lots of laundry.

But I digress (warning, I do that a lot). The real beginning of the journey started on a rainy Friday in January 2004.

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Red may be the theater major and movie fanatic, but when we talk about women’s equality and role models, ironically, I am the one who brings up movie and television characters. (Although she keeps trying to convince me that I am a role model.) Maybe because my favorite movie character is Scarlett in “Gone With The Wind,” and growing up, I was inspired by Marlo Thomas and “That Girl.” But once I learned the backstory of “I Love Lucy,” I realized Lucille Ball was the ultimate badass …

I Love Lucy. For many of us, myself included, those three words bring back memories of favorite episodes of the “I Love Lucy” show. And, although I would be hard-pressed to pick my favorites, some may reminisce that the show, which ran from 1951 – 1957, was from a simpler time and is dated. I would argue that the comic timing, the gags, and the chemistry of the characters have stood the test of time.

Maybe it is because they took frustrating situations in everyday life and then pushed them to the extreme – and made them hilarious along the way. For example, your young child wants a superhero at their birthday party. Reasonable. But for Lucy, after unsuccessfully trying to book Superman (Chris Reeves), she dons the costume in “Lucy and Superman.” A classic.

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It may seem odd to talk about footprints in the snow when most of us are experiencing record heat. But, as we all go through our busy days, it is easy to overlook how the steps we take in life, whether intentional or unplanned, good or bad, lead us to where we are today. And, while it is easy to focus on the past, the future is an untrodden path, waiting for our next step …

Back in 2004, I met an older couple participating in a Ferrari rally, and after a deep conversation over a long lunch, they became dear friends. It was an event that would change my life in many ways, and several months later, shortly after my husband “surprised” me with a divorce, the husband sent me an email that so moved me that I put it in my “Blue Book”. (A Circa planner with a blue leather cover, hence the name, that includes not only my calendars but also a section with a few things I re-read on a regular basis.)

Last month, he passed away. I always made a point of letting them know that “Footprints” had become an important part of my life. They are words to live by. And, in honor of my dear friend, who is loved and missed, I want to share that email. With no edits … as we do not get to edit our lives …

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