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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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.


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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?
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