Image by spukkato for iStock


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Daddy never talked about being a veteran; I only knew because I'd love looking through old family photo albums. I'd marvel at photos of him taken when he served in Asia during World War II as he looked like such a "baby", not like the grown man that was our dad. When we were growing up, he'd wear his Hump Pilots Association cap all the time, but I never thought much about it until years after he passed and Mom received a VHS tape celebrating the 50th anniversary of WWII that was about "flying the hump". At the time, the girls were very young, so weren't interested in watching it. But I may try again to help them see that we all have so much to be thankful for, especially our veterans – the men and women who have served to defend and protect our country not only over the years but over the decades.


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Technically, over the centuries. It started as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the 1918 "truce" between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. Unfortunately, more wars would follow, and it was officially changed to Veterans Day in 1954. And, while Memorial Day remembers those who gave their lives for our country, Veterans Day honors all who have served in the military during times of war and peace, including those who are no longer with us.

In my opinion, there are not enough days to celebrate the men and women in the military who serve and protect us. So, when we have an opportunity to thank a veteran – and especially today – we should do so, proudly and humbly.
Thank you, Veterans – today and every day – for protecting our country, our freedom, our democracy.

So, when Black mentions Redhead Appreciation Day, I know it’s related to Red & Black and not her being “nice” and giving me a day off (or telling me that she appreciates me). And when she asks, “What is it like to be a redhead, Red?” part of me wants to reply, “What’s it like not to be a redhead?” because, for my entire life, I’ve been “Red.” (There’s a story there, but I’ll get to it later.) The honest answer is, well, I never thought about it, until now …

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Photograph of Jackie Aguilera courtesy of Jackie Aguilera


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I have a confession to make, which I’m sure will make you roll your eyes.


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Interesting caveat and probably true.


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Every time we meet with Jackie (Aguilera) from the Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy and hear what she’s doing in the world of adult education, I feel like I’m back in school and having to take copious notes.


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I am more than happy to send you “homework assignments” as I come across relevant articles and research.


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Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to taking notes. But that does explain why you’re so knowledgeable about literacy.


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But, reading information is very different from being at the forefront of literacy innovation. And, if we had never met Jackie, I never would have realized how literacy is more than the dictionary definition, and encompasses more than just reading and writing.
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Photo by Lynda Sanchez on Unsplash

As Black knows, going to the movies is my escape (and even sends me research about it), but she also knows that it’s all about the popcorn. So, it should come as no surprise that’s how I like to celebrate my birthday. And even though she’s not one to “celebrate” birthdays, she does indulge (or maybe the word is “tolerate”) people who do, and whenever my birthday falls on a workday, she gives me “permission” to escape to the movies.

Which is what I’m doing today on my milestone birthday, and although the “rerun” part of this post (below the line) was from last November, some things never change. Except … this year, as I’ll be waiting for the movie to start (and waiting to start eating my popcorn as I refuse to eat even a single kernel beforehand), I know I’ll be wondering, “How did I get to be 60 years old?!”

It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)

I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.

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