Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … A Birthday Turkey

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


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Given all the "supply chain warnings", I'm starting my Thanksgiving planning a little earlier this year and saw that this year your birthday falls on Thanksgiving!


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Yes. It happens every so often. And, although I do not like to celebrate my birthday any more than I like to celebrate holidays, at least I can kill two birds with one stone.


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Only you would look for ways to efficiently "celebrate" special occasions.


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Actually, looking for ways to avoid them. For years, when you lived overseas, I would go away for my birthday, which meant it was also a good way to avoid Thanksgiving.


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Well, the girls have always loved having you come out to the house, especially since it's a relatively rare occurrence. Plus, on Thanksgiving, they'd enjoy it when you and Mom would argue with each other. I'd find it stressful, but for them, it's sheer entertainment. Talk about a holiday tradition.


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Exactly. You are probably too young to remember, but when Uncle David and Grandpa Louie were still alive, every large family gathering, regardless of the occasion, included arguments that were actually debates. It is funny, the same arguments would continue for years with us never agreeing. But, it was never mean-spirited. And, for me, it was sport.


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I'm glad you enjoy it, but as one who prefers conflict avoidance, not to mention being the warm and fuzzy one, I like celebrations where everyone behaves or, ideally, actually gets along.


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How boring. Does that mean everyone also has to like the same kind of potatoes? You accept that some people like mashed potatoes, while others like mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, or some (like me) prefer baked yams. You do not pass judgment, and you always make all of them.


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I'm not sure I'd equate having different opinions with liking different kinds of potatoes. Regardless, it's Thanksgiving, so I want everyone to be happy, at least in their food options. Anyway, it's no big deal because one of the best parts of Thanksgiving, besides the big inflatable turkey on the front yard that always makes me smile, is being able to "hide" in the kitchen for a day of cooking.


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We are so different. You show you care by doing something you enjoy, cooking. Whereas, I show I care by showing up. Eating food I do not particularly like. (Have you ever noticed that I do not eat the turkey or the stuffing?) And, helping you with much of the clean-up because I feel it is the least I can do.


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Really? Although I always appreciate your help, I thought you left the dining room as a way to limit how much you might be tempted to eat, especially as we can sit there for hours talking and nibbling. It's funny because, for most of us, Thanksgiving's more than just a meal; it's about giving thanks for all we have, and about memories from the past and hopes for the future.


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It seems to me those things can be done even if it is not Thanksgiving.


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In theory, yes. But most of us "mere mortals" do better with a specific day to celebrate. It's like birthdays. It's a perfect way to remember how important someone is and to make a point of telling them.


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I do not disagree.


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Then why don't you celebrate your birthday?


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There is a huge difference between acknowledging a birthday and making a big deal out of it. For example, the fact you and the girls, and then once Natasha moved overseas, you and Sawyer, always make a point of coming into Houston to see me, although not necessary, is always appreciated.


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Of course, it's necessary. It's your birthday! But this year, we'll already all be together since it's on Thanksgiving.


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Well, since I know "celebrating" is important to you, just put a candle in one of those cute turkey cupcakes you make every year. You know, the ones with the nasty candy corn as feathers.


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Hey, I love candy corn. But in the spirit of celebrating your birthday in a way that will make you happy, how about a candle in a baked yam? Although I'll warn you now, the singing of "Happy Birthday" is non-negotiable.


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And, you know what else makes me happy? My birthday will not fall on Thanksgiving again until 2027.

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

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


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As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.


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I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.


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Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.


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Or, at least been curious.


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How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?


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Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As much of a history buff as I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know March was Women’s History Month. But now that I do, I’m amazed by all the inspirational stories of women’s remarkable achievements.


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Too bad Natasha and Sawyer do not still live at home; it would be fun to start a conversation by asking them what women they find inspiring.


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I already know who they would pick. The first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I’d have to agree with them. Your Ferrari racing has made an impact on so many people. But especially girls.


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Until you mentioned it several years ago, I never thought about that. In the 1970s, I was one of the few women in business school. I then made a career in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. I am used to being a “token” female.


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Trust me. I watch people whenever we’ve done speaking engagements. It’s predictable ... we put up the family tree, and Natasha and Sawyer get awws, but your two racecars get everyone’s attention.
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