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I just had a very interesting call with the woman from Alarm Masters.


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Is this one of your usual vents, or do I actually need to pay attention?


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Actually, neither. My home alarm system's siren went off in the middle of the night and scared us all to death. Luckily, it was just a malfunction, so I called them as soon as they opened to see if they could send someone out. And less than two hours later they had a repairman at my door!


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And, you are telling me this … why?


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Because after he left, I called their office to thank them for getting someone out so quickly. They always provide great service, but this was exceptional.


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I bet that shocked them. People typically call businesses to complain – not to compliment.


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Exactly. I could tell that she was very surprised which quickly turned into being appreciative. It was such a small thing on my part, but I think it made a difference in her day.


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And, will probably create a lasting memory. As will this call, as I am used to you calling me to vent – not compliment. Now, is there anything else you need to tell me? Or, can I get back to work?


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No, that's it. But I guess I could thank you for listening.


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No, save that "thank you" for someone who would appreciate it.
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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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I still can't get over that LinkedIn post that you sent me about Louis Armstrong. I almost put it on my pile of things to "read later" as I'm not a huge fan of jazz, although I loved him in the movie "High Society" with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.


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I figured the subject line, "Connect these dots … Louis Armstrong," would pique your interest.


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Well, it did. Although when I first started reading it, I couldn't figure out what a Jewish family who immigrated from Lithuania had to do with one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.
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