Jackie Aguilera

Let's be very clear. We're not posting this photo of our bookmark to promote our book or our bookmarks. (They're not even for sale on this site … yet.) What prompted this post is that Jackie Aguilera, Project Manager of the Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy for the City of Houston, sent us this image because she thought we might enjoy it.

Who does not enjoy a rainbow? For each of us, rainbows hold different significance. For some, it may reflect (pun intended) new beginnings. For others, it may be a reminder that we're not alone. Rainbows can be a much-needed dose of encouragement. Or, simply a spark of hope.

Even if you just think of a rainbow from a scientific perspective (National Geographic explains that a rainbow's an optical illusion, and is the result of the phenomena of refraction and reflection of light), it's still a phenomenon.

In Jackie's case, the rainbow's a reoccurring phenomenon …

Rainbows break out in my office every day between 1230 and 4 … I looked down at my desk and saw this.

We're not going to try and interpret her rainbows .But will enjoy this one … while being on the lookout for our own personal rainbows.

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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