Red wonders if we can blame it on Bruce Willis or maybe Robert Downey, Jr. Blame them for what? The popularity of action movies over the last decades – ranging from normal people demonstrating almost impossible feats of bravery and skill (yes, she's thinking "Die Hard") to super heroes conquering the day no matter the odds (like Marvel's "The Avengers") – that has greatly influenced our idea of what's a "hero". (Black defers to Red when it comes to movies, unless you want to talk about the business aspects of the industry.)

Until we stop and think about it.


Then our idea of what's a hero changes to who's a hero, and is much different than those in blockbuster movies. Instead of it being larger-than-life figures, it becomes someone who displays courage, someone we admire. In reality, we've always been surrounded by heroes, they're just more noticeable during a crisis. During the pandemic, first responders, front-line healthcare personnel, and grocery-workers have become some of our most vital and appreciated heroes.

But heroes can be everyday people who merely go out of their way for others. Maybe a neighbor who checks in with the elderly couple next door. Or, the person who calls someone they know is lonely. It may not seem "heroic" to you, but it does to the recipient. Quite simply, heroes come in many different forms, whether they make the front page of a newspaper, trend on social media, or are only known by one other person.

Last Wednesday at the siege on the Capitol, as government officials and their staff were quickly moved to safety, we saw many nameless heroes. Most would probably say there were merely doing "their job" but in our opinion that doesn't make them any less courageous. However, there's an image that stood out amongst all the horrific ones – the ceremonial Electoral College ballot boxes that were rescued by quick thinking congressional aides. While some people may wonder why the staff would risk their own safety to save a few wooden boxes and pieces of papers, we see those boxes as symbols of American democracy. So, when we think about those aides, we see courage, patriotism, and a commitment to something that's bigger than themselves. Bigger than all of us. And, to us, that makes them heroes. True American heroes.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


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Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


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No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


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I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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Image by Arseniy45 on iStock


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I know Columbus Day is a federal holiday, so banks are closed, but otherwise, it's barely celebrated. Growing up, it seemed like it was an important part of fall, not only because we had off from school, but because I can still remember (yes, those straight-A student school memories) learning about America being discovered by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Especially since he was trying to find a new way to get to the "riches" of Asia (without having to sail around Africa) and found the Americas instead! I still recall hearing that some people thought the earth was flat and his ships would fall off, and although it may not have been many people – it still made a lasting impression. Regardless, he became one of the most famous explorers in history.

I love history, so I loved everything about the holiday and even remember the names of the three ships, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, all these decades later. And although I've long forgotten most dates in history (after knowing them for the test, of course), the year 1492 is etched on my memory, as I suspect it is for many people.


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Obviously, Red needs to "update" her history on Christopher Columbus, and I am not talking about "obscure facts" like that might not have been his real name. Information has been discovered (pun intended, although this is a serious situation), leading to significant discussion and controversy about Columbus "the person" versus the romanticized hero originally depicted in history books.

As you would expect from any explorer traveling the world, there would be encounters with indigenous people. However, historians now believe Columbus' interactions were despicable (my word, not theirs) due to his use of violence and slavery, and forcing people to become Christians. In addition, he exposed the New World to diseases and other complications in what is now referred to as the "Columbian Exchange."

So, in keeping with the spirit of today being a holiday to celebrate, a "replacement" holiday, Indigenous People's Day, was created. And, although technically not a federal holiday, it does fall on one and hopefully will help us all refocus. In fact, this past Friday, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, stating,

"For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society."
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It all started with a visit to Dunkin' (Donuts), which isn't an unusual event for me as I come from New York, and it has always been a part of my life (and explains why I struggle to call it by its "new" name). Even before I was old enough to drink coffee, I loved their donuts, and one of my favorite childhood memories is my dad coming home with a box of a dozen Dunkin' donuts (his favorite was the chocolate glaze and mine the Boston cream).

Now, fast forward to my recent visit to Dunkin', which didn't go as expected – on several fronts. But it had nothing to do with donuts. Rather, with coffee, which I drink all day long, although I'm very particular about how it's prepared. (I admit, that's an understatement.)

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