Created by Sawyer Pennington


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It seems like it was only yesterday that we were thinking about a new website. Now we're working on it non-stop.


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Actually, we have talked about a new website for years, but deciding to create this website became a high priority when COVID-19 changed everything – for everyone.


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No kidding. I was so surprised when educators reached out to us looking for online resources. But what really caught me off guard was when people started telling me my crisis, which happened years ago when my husband got fired, had so many analogies to what they're having to face today.


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We all tend to live our lives day-to-day until something happens that is a catalyst to make us stop and take notice. To have to address the situation. The reality of our lives. First, it was COVID-19. Then the civil unrest and protests prompted by the murder of George Floyd. And now, with everything seeming to divide the country, the upcoming presidential election is only making things worse. It just seems that we are going from crisis-to-crisis.


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I know that so much of what's happening today has left me feeling sad. And angry. And often helpless. But I'll admit, being able to talk with you and get non-emotional feedback has been an enormous help.


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Funny thing is sometimes I just let you talk. Or, maybe it is that I just cannot get a word in edgewise.


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Well, everyone knows that I'm the warm and fuzzy one who like to blah-blah-blah. But I have to tell you, even if I regret it later, that right now, given all the current craziness and stress, I even welcome your sarcasm.

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In the past, my standard reply to that would have been, "You need to get out more." But, given COVID-19, that is probably not very good advice.


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Does that mean you have no words of wisdom for me?! Wow, that's a first.


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Technically, I typically do not tell you what to do. I just ask questions – sometimes lots of questions – to try to make you figure it out yourself.


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I don't want to get in a debate with you, so can we change the subject? I'd LOVE to tell people how excited we are about our new website! Should we explain how we're starting with a few key posts in each of the sections, along with the "Banter Bites" that we launched on Twitter and Facebook earlier this year? And mention how we'll be adding new information every day?


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You just did.
Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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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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