Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … A Summer Rerun?

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


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Is it possible that this summer might actually feel a bit more "normal" than last year?


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Define "normal," as I am confident we are not returning to normal, but instead are transitioning to a new normal.


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Fine. I just meant in comparison to last summer when I was hoarding toilet paper, fully stocking my pantry and freezer, and constantly wiping down seemingly every surface in my house.


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I guess you could call it "the summer of survival" since we were not prepared for the pandemic, especially not the lockdowns.


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Exactly! Which means that this summer will be more like a pre-pandemic summer in that we'll have more freedom, especially for those of us that are vaccinated. And it feels great.


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I agree, but at the risk of sounding like a pessimist, we have to be careful not to lapse into a state of complacency. Yes, we are more protected if we are vaccinated, but not everyone is getting vaccinated. And, fewer and fewer people are wearing masks.


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I know that. I'm not hiding from reality; I just want to be able to enjoy the "mindset" of summer. As in the lazy days of summer. Now, I don't mean that literally, of course. It's just when things just seem to "ease up" a little, days are longer so you feel like you have more time. You know, summer.


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No, I do not know. For me, summer only means it is hotter outside, and it stays lighter longer.


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Seriously? Summer for you is strictly related to temperature and daylight?


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Correct. I do not have kids, so it is not like I have to adjust for them being on summer break. I do not work in an office where I have to plan for people to be away on summer vacations. I live alone and am a workaholic that works from home.


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I find it very hard to believe that last summer, at the height of the pandemic, it didn't feel any different for you than any other summer.


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That is not what I said. I said that for me, summer, regardless of the year, is the same as any other season. Unless you take into consideration what fruit and flowers Whole Foods has since those are seasonal.


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This is when I want to say that you really need to get a life, but I do understand what you're saying. But tell me, did summer ever mean anything to you?


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How far back are you asking?


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As far as you want to go.


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As a child, summer meant no school, hanging out in the neighborhood, and since my favorite television shows were all reruns, almost every night the boys from the surrounding houses and I would have watermelon seed spitting contests.


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If nothing else, that would explain a lot about your competitiveness. Well, my most vivid summer memories are of when the girls were little, and I had to go into big-time "camp counselor" and "chauffeur" mode during the summer. It's funny, it was exhausting at the time, but now they're priceless memories. And bittersweet since Natasha's no longer living at home and Sawyer's driving herself.


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Not to mention, she goes off to college at the end of the summer.


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Thanks for the reminder, but I'm trying not to think about that. I just want to fully enjoy this summer. Of course, safely, but still, I want that more carefree feeling of summer.


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Interesting concept, being carefully carefree. However, you do bring up an interesting side effect of the pandemic. It has allowed many people to experience, or re-experience, the "simple pleasures" of life. To stop and reflect on priorities and begin to make some changes about where to focus their time and energy.


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Yes, simple things like being able to escape the summer heat by going to re-opened movie theaters. There's something about needing a sweater when it's 100+ degrees outside that just screams "summer."


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Well, that sounds like it is related to temperature, which is how I think of summer. Anyway, I went a year without seeing friends and only recently have started going out to eat again. For the most part, we have been dining outside, but Houston's summer heat and humidity will change that to dining inside with social distancing.


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Yes! And that's what I meant when I said that I hoped this summer might actually feel a bit more "normal". And that's mere mortal "normal", not your "normal".


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In other words, you want a summer rerun of years gone by. FYI, I will admit that every summer I think it would be fun, although totally unacceptable, to spit watermelon seeds off my high-rise balcony.


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Oh, that I want to see!

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
Keep Reading ...Show less

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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!