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I feel like I am about to prove how old I am … it was in the gymnasium of a local school, but I cannot remember which one. But, I do remember the voting booth had a large handle that allowed me to close a curtain so I could vote in privacy, and the machine itself had small individual levers for the actual voting.



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    Why am I not surprised that your memory's about the physical act of voting? I remember the mix of emotions I was feeling. I was proud of the right to vote, yet felt a sense of civic responsibility. And being a straight-A student, I was worried about making the right choices.


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    The first thing that came to mind was movie tickets, but the truth is it's really all about the popcorn. But recently I did buy something that has made me happy, and I know Black's going to roll her eyes. First my rationalization – I've wanted one for years and the time seemed right since I'm not eating out these days and decided to start experimenting at home with some new recipes. So, what did I buy? A proper Dutch oven. If you're not familiar with them, you can use them on a cooktop and then put it direct into the oven to keep cooking for hours. Bottom line, they're really versatile and suitable for making lots of dishes. I found a great looking cobalt blue one that has a non-stick surface which I immediately tested as I made pulled pork with a brown sugar topping that baked for hours and hours. Can you say "baked on sugar"? When it came time to clean it, I gave it a quick spray, figuring it'd have to soak overnight. Well, one quick rinse later and it was completely, sparkling clean! And that, combined with how good the pulled pork tasted, made me very happy.


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    Socks. Yes, socks. I succumbed to an ad for Bombas socks that appeared in one of the newsletters I receive. I needed athletic socks anyway and they claimed they were the most comfortable socks ever and that for every pair it sells, it donates a pair because socks are the most requested item in homeless shelters. But the main reason I bought a few pairs was because I liked how the colorful ones looked – they were "happy colors." After wearing them, I agreed they are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn, which makes my feet happy. Layer in the donated socks, and I can rationalize buying even more.
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    At the risk of Red telling me that I am being too literal, there are very different ways to answer this. One is movies that may be dark, but when you get to the end it makes you feel good, like The Shawshank Redemption. Another is movies that seem to make you break out in song (even those of us who cannot sing), like Mamma Mia. And then, there are those that just make you feel good from start to finish … and my pick for that category would be Big. Beside the fact that Tom Hanks is perfect in this movie that reminds you of the innocence and awe of childhood, there are so many great scenes that just make you smile – with my favorite being him eating the baby corn.


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    Wow, if Black named three movies, then as a self-proclaimed movie buff, I might rattle off a seemingly endless list. But it's an easy question and my answer's a movie that I've not only watched countless times, but that if I see it as I'm flipping through the TV channels, I always stop and watch it again. It's a movie that at first glance could be considered a "feel sad" movie but for me it's about hope, dreams, family, and so much more. And although my eyes always well up with tears in the last scene, it also makes me smile. At memories and knowing that although my dad isn't physically with me, he's always with me. And what better feeling is that? If you haven't guessed the movie by now, it's Field of Dreams.
    Design by Sawyer Pennington


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    Scared. Embarrassed. Disheartened. And, sick to my stomach. I watched in total disbelief. It reminded me of 9/11 – with the exception that I believe this could have been totally avoided. What is so disheartening is that it is not representative who we, the America people, are … However, the fact Congress returned to finish their interrupted business made me proud, and reminded me that Democracy would prevail.


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    At the risk of stealing one of Black's phrases, "Same same." I had the news on in the background to listen to Congress and the confirmation of Electoral College ballots, and it seemed that within the span of less than a minute chaos took over. An hour later, staring at the TV and not believing my eyes, I'm explaining to my daughter that we're watching history. But not the good kind. Even today, I'm still trying to process what happened and find it incredible, along with a whole host of emotions, that this could have happened in our country.