There are things you just don't expect to see in Texas … and now will never forget.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We knew a winter storm was coming to Texas, as it dominated the local news for a good part of last week and certainly going into the weekend.
Red, of course, had her hurricane preparedness lists, and looked to those to be as prepared as possible. Of course, there were additional things that had to be considered for a winter storm – like wrapping external pipes, having faucets drip, and having warm clothing and blankets ready. (Northerners may be used to prolonged sub-zero temperatures, Southerners are not. But, at least being from New York, we knew what to do.)
But you can plan and prepare all you want. When the power goes out for an extended period of time (no matter what the cause) it's a shock and you have to quickly go from planning mode to reaction mode. Which is what happened to both of us, with Black's high-rise losing power early in the storm and Red's house joining the millions (!) without power a day later. Our specific situations aren't important, but we're each very grateful that we're back "online" and are writing this from our homes where power has been restored. (Luckily, we didn't lose water.)
But throughout the last few days, we've been inspired by the resilience and heart of Texans who just don't give up. In times of need, Texans come together. Whether it's neighbors helping each other, strangers handing out blankets and bottles of water, restaurants giving away food, or Mattress Mack opening Gallery Furniture megastores as shelters, Texans are tough, big-hearted, and never give up.
Our hearts go out to all those that have been impacted, and especially those still without power and water. We ask that everyone do whatever they can, even if it's just conserving power and water, to try to help others. As always, we'll overcome this challenge. Together.
Some things never change, like our Thanksgiving routines. But that’s ok, as Thanksgiving’s about traditions, so it seems only appropriate that we’d like to repeat what we’ve told you before …
We'll keep this simple and to-the-point … Happy Thanksgiving!
Comic strip or reality show: A group of bachelors participates in a foot race, and whoever's caught by the single woman in the race will become her husband.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We may be sisters, but except for growing up with the same parents in the same house in New York, that may be where the similarities end; especially in terms of dating "protocol" as Black never thought twice about asking boys (and later men) out on a date, while Red never gave it any thought, accepting the convention that boys did the asking. (She did make an exception for her senior prom but was shocked when he accepted.)
When it comes to Sadie Hawkins Day, we both agree it's a quirky holiday that makes it "acceptable" for girls to ask out boys, but of course, we have very different perspectives. For Red, it conjures up images of Sadie Hawkins Day dances, although she never went to one and doesn't even remember how she knows about them. While Black's fascinated by how it all began with the cartoonist Al Capp and his popular "Lil' Abner" comic strip and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon.Now, over 80 years later, if you were to analyze Sadie Hawkins Day, you would probably find it outdated and sexist. But why not just laugh at its silly beginnings and enjoy the day. The funny thing is Red still thinks men should ask out women, while Black always believed that every day's Sadie Hawkins Day.
Tomorrow’s Election Day, and our thoughts about the importance and challenges of voting haven’t changed since last year (see below) – although the stakes may have gone up. (Think Roe v. Wade and how the Supreme Court has sent it back to the states.) Black wishes more states offered referendums so we could vote on specific issues instead of trying to find the candidate that most closely represents our positions and then actually stays true to their word. Which, unfortunately, makes voting much harder than it needs to be …
So many people have fought for the right to vote, yet so many don't even bother to vote.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Like many of us, Red can come up with a whole list of reasons why she didn't plan to vote this Election Day, but what she thought was a sarcastic comment from Black would point out the challenge of balancing philosophical beliefs with reality.
Red, being that former straight-A student, remembers the first time she voted and how she felt it was her civic responsibility, but that she'd never just vote by party line (for her, it was never that simple, especially not these days). That each vote needs to be a conscious one. But that takes lots of "homework", so unless it's a presidential or gubernatorial election, she tends to sit out most of them. Which she felt was just fine, until Black pointed out,
The prior few presidential elections aside, I could argue that non-presidential elections have a far greater impact on our lives. Because state and local issues, such as school board elections and amendments to state constitutions, can make a huge difference to your daily lives.
Now, Red thought, there's an understatement. Especially in the state of Texas. But even on a local level, as Red had recently found out that one trustee on her local school board has created such a huge uproar that all the other trustees called for her resignation. When she first heard the news, she couldn't quite believe the accusations, except most of them were officially "on record", but then, as a parent, Red was appalled that such a person was sitting, of all things, on a school board. But until Black's comments, she didn't connect the dots between that and her responsibility as a voter (not to mention a parent) to take future school board elections more seriously.
Of course, Red still feels an obligation to research the candidates and learn not only what they claim to believe and intend to do, but to try to have a better understanding of who they really are. Which given the times we live in, and the power of social media to spread misinformation, is more challenging than ever. And when she asked Black what to do, she heard a familiar analogy, but with a different spin,
You can eat an elephant (and I am not referring to the GOP/Republicans) just not all at once. Same holds true in terms of the candidates and issues. Review the ones you feel strongly about and then vote. Remember, you are not required to vote the entire ballot.
Well, Red realized that although she hadn't prepared to vote, ironically, it was her desire to make the right choices that led her to make no choices. Now, she realized it was not only her civic responsibility to vote but something that was truly important. For her, her family, her community.