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


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I can't believe it's been a year since they canceled last year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which means that it's been a year since COVID-19 has seemingly taken over our lives. It's almost hard to remember what life used to be like.


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I am not even sure we know how the "new norm" will look. And, believe it or not, I can still remember the dilemma you faced in terms of Sawyer and the Houston Rodeo. But, the fact you used me as your sounding board, for what I remember as countless hours, may explain it.


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The mom in me just wanted to lock her in the house until we knew more about COVID-19. But I also knew the carnival and concerts at the Houston Rodeo are far and away one of the highlights not only of Spring Break, but her entire year.


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Well, the fact they canceled it after the first week made your life – and mine – much easier. So, looking back, do you think you would have stopped her from going?


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Hello? You still there?


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Yes. I'm thinking about how to answer that. Part of me wants to believe that I'd have exercised my parental right to use "tough love" … but honestly, I really don't know. But what I do know is that looking back, I'd do things differently.


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Really? I know you were borderline fanatical about cleaning your groceries for a long time, but many people were. And although Mom, who says she understands, will probably never forgive you for only seeing her "through a window" for almost a year now, even though it is for her own safety.


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No, I meant further back in time. This past year has had me thinking about all the things I didn't do over the years. And how I always took for granted that I'd be able to do them. Then, overnight, I couldn't.


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It is funny you mention that, as various business publications are predicting a boom in travel once things start to open safely. In fact, some Christmas 2021 cruises are already sold out.


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Cruises aren't on my list, but travel is. Over the years, my reasons for not traveling were cost-related, but I also struggled to find the time given the girls' schedules and us always being so busy with Red & Black. Bottom line, there were always reasons not to do it. And now I regret it. Not for the missed trips themselves, but for the opportunity to create memories, as some of my fondest memories are from trips. And I don't mean the things I saw; I mean the time spent with those I was traveling with or traveling to see.


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First, no one ever said on their deathbed, "I wish I had worked more." Smarter maybe, but not more. Second, then make "memory making" a priority and start immediately. Call or Zoom friends, do a COVID-safe staycation, take a day-long road trip. Be creative.


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I'm already doing some of that, but the point I was trying to make is that I always thought I could do these things another time. Until life just seemed to stop. And then, a year later, you realize you might not always have the time you assumed you would.


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For years, I have said that the future is not a guarantee, merely an incentive. Unfortunately, I think the pandemic has made that painfully obvious for many people.


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Somehow, I don't think you're talking about trips. I know that life's full of regrets, but I imagine one of the worst ones is not being able to say goodbye to a loved one and realizing you never said or did the things you wish you had. It makes you think about the many things we don't do because we're busy and feel we can do it another time – simple things like stopping and spending a bit more time with your child, your partner, your parent – until you later look back and regret it.


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I think that is natural and, unfortunately, a part of life.


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I know. But this past year, more than ever before, has me thinking about things that I regret. Full stop. Some things go back many years, like losing touch with old friends, while others are more recent and make me wish for a "do-over".


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Well, it seems to me that you have two options. You can sit there and have your regrets. Or, you can learn from your regrets and do things differently.


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Hello. Are you thinking, again?


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Yes. You're right; I've been so focused on the things I regret, and have felt that I can never have another chance at, that I never even thought about how I can turn some of those regrets around. Or at least make sure I don't have similar regrets in the future. So, at the risk of regretting asking this question … do you have any regrets?


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Just as I do not take walks down memory lane, I do not "do" regrets


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So, you're trying to tell me there's nothing you'd do differently if you could live your life over?


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I did not say that. I said that I do not "do" regrets. However, making mistakes is very different from having regrets.


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Somehow, I knew I'd regret asking …

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Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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