Ask Red & Black

With smaller Thanksgiving celebrations this year, will you still have your favorite dish?

Design by Sawyer Pennington

Red's HeadRed

Of course! Since I do all the cooking, I always get to have my favorites – cranberry sauce and corn bread stuffing! But a few years ago, I realized there wasn't any reason to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy my favorites. So now I make a turkey dinner, but with way fewer side dishes, several times a year.

Black's HeadBlack

My favorite Thanksgiving dish is sweet potatoes, but since I prefer them baked, I do not need a special occasion to make them in the microwave. However, this year I am home alone for Thanksgiving, so will skip the sweet potatoes and bring in sushi. Now, I am trying to figure out how to make it my new Thanksgiving tradition.



Growing up, I was aware of the Kentucky Derby because I’d watch golf every weekend with my dad, and there was always talk about it. We’d usually tune in just in time for the race, but we didn’t know much about thoroughbred horse racing, nor really cared to learn. Fast forward a few decades, and my love of movies made me see how dramatic and inspiring horse racing can be.

In terms of the Kentucky Derby, the movie “Secretariat” captivated me with its truly extraordinary story of a horse that overcame the odds to not only become the first winner of the Triple Crown in 25 years but also to become one (and to many, the) greatest racehorses of all times. But my favorite horse racing movie is “Seabiscuit,” as it’s a story of perseverance and sheer determination that never ceases to amaze me. Seabiscuit never competed in the Kentucky Derby because it’s only open to three-year-olds, and he didn’t start his career until he was five, so I can only wonder how he would’ve done.


There is much tradition associated with the Kentucky, yet I am always amused by all the “hoopla” around this historic sporting event, to the point where it seems as if the race is just a two-minute interruption from Kentucky Derby parties where people dress up and drink mint juleps. (Who knew a drink could have such a fascinating history?)

And, people may disagree on the greatest Kentucky Derby winners. But, there is no denying there are many life lessons on display – never stop believing in ourselves (Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, never gave up on him, even when others doubted his potential), the importance of teamwork, working hard, overcoming adversity. However, Rich Strike, the surprise 2022 Kentucky Derby champion, who beat the odds (I have always found the most fascinating part of horse racing to be understanding the odds because it involves math and statistics), is the horse that really got me thinking


I’m going to defer to Black about World Wish Day because she was the one who “introduced” me to Make-A-Wish. Before that, if you said “make a wish” to me, I would’ve thought about blowing out candles on a birthday cake – not granting the wish of a child suffering from a critical illness.

One of the first wishes Black told me about was a little boy who wanted to be “boss of the ice cream man” so he could give away free ice cream to less fortunate kids. Hearing the passion as Black told the story, realizing it was about hope and joy, combined with the wish being about doing for others, was inspiring, heartwarming, and “evidence” of the power of a wish. And not just for the child but for their families, neighbors, community, and even strangers. (I’m so proud that as children, my daughters took it upon themselves to have lemonade stands benefiting our local Make-A-Wish chapter.)


I have been involved with Make-A-Wish for decades and have always felt it has done more for me than I can ever do for it, as it reminds me that my problems or frustrations are minuscule in the scheme of things. It is my “reality check” on life. (I recently found out there is science that supports helping others is good for you, and recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)

Oh, and to answer your question: World Wish Day is celebrated on April 29 to mark the anniversary of the first wish, which was granted in 1980. But, when Tommy Austin first became buddies with young Chris Grecius, there was no way to know his wish would grow into a worldwide organization.

Every day is the perfect day to celebrate the power of a wish, but in celebration of World Wish Day … consider making a difference by making a donation.


I just have to say it … Earth Day reminds me of Earth shoes. Which I loved as a teenager, even if they did make me look like more of a dork than I already did. I vaguely remember that, at the time, environmental issues focused on oil spills and pollution. But even then, I thought it was sad that we needed to have a day to celebrate Earth and raise awareness about protecting it from harm and preserving it for future generations.

Now, over 50 years since the first Earth Day, it seems no one was really listening. Examples of climate change are becoming more frequent, making it difficult to ignore the science behind it. Personally, I’ve always tried to do my part, especially in terms of recycling (although Black explained there are two other R’s – reducing and reusing), and it’s more convenient now than ever before. And while I don’t have an electric car, I may rethink that in the future, but know I’ll turn to Black to help make that decision.


I am not going to get into the environmental pros and cons of electric cars, nor the politics of climate change, other than to say there is still time to avoid the worst-case scenarios. But, it will depend on the willingness of governments, businesses, and individuals to take action, and for all of us to make significant changes to our habits and behavior (which starts with becoming environmentally literate).

On a more personal note, as a lifelong clotheshorse, I have always invested in high-quality pieces that will last for years (decades) and have saved (versus replaced) the clothing. (It has been my motivation for staying the same size all these years.) However, I never thought of it from an environmental perspective, but now that more people are thrifting and vintage shopping, not only to save money but as a fun and sustainable way to refresh their wardrobes while reducing their environmental impact, I may need to consider selling some of my clothing.