Sunday, September 13, 2009


Earlier this morning while reading about the anti-anything-I-believe-in-and-always-jerkish Bill Maher, I got so angry...I saw red. Funny expression, don't you think? I mean, we see red as the color of fire, heat, and temper. A power color of the highest magnitude as evidenced by the number of red ties we see on politicians, broadcasters, and CEOs. The color that is on the top of the stoplight atop ambulances and on stop signs. It draws your attention, and cues you in to something important or noteworthy.

Red is the color of my favorite flavor - cherry - and is my mother's favorite color. Red suits her...a beautiful blue-eyed blonde with dimples and that All-American look. Women have enjoyed red lipstick and nail polish for generations. It is always in vogue.

Red is a holiday color...ala Valentine's Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It just speaks of celebrations and fun and excitement.

Red is both a common color...and an uncommon one at the same time. Red is primary and shocking...the color of blood as we see it, the color of trees changing in the Fall, of flowers, and of ladybugs. Blue, green, brown, white, and gray are found in nature...but red is almost an accent color in this regard. It stands out and captures us with its sudden appearance in a sunset, on a hummingbird, or of a cardinal in the grayness of winter.

Red. It is almost always unusual...and distinctive. Red hair, a red dress at a funeral, a poinsettia grouping on the steps of the church at Christmas, or the red stripes against the white on the American flag.

In decorating, (like I know anything about that except this) red is usually an accent color except in a dining room or possibly a bedroom in a bordello. It certainly isn't restful. Red is frequently used in restaurant decor because it is supposed to stimulate the appetite. It is bright, cheery, exciting, sophisticated, welcoming, and familiar in the proper time and place.

Red features prominently in childhood stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Clifford, the Big Red Dog." Dr. Seuss books that used an extraordinary amount in the illustrations. Children love red, and it is one of the first colors that they can pick out. I still remember both of mine saying "wed" for "red" as little people.

In college, I was in the class of Pirates at Wesleyan, and those red jerseys then changed to my red Phi Mu jersey once I arrived at Troy. Our Phi Mu colors were pink (official) and red (reality) because most of the makers of the jerseys only made the most basic colors in 1983. When I see a ladybug - real or designed - it still makes me smile as I think of our cutesy little ladybugs painted on picture frames, coolers, and bulletin boards. My niece, Tara, looks precious adorned with ladybug clothes...and my Jill...who was obviously destined to be a Phi Mu...adored the color combination of pink and red as a little girl.

Pink and red...she has them both now...Phi Mu pink supporting the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. In a totally "Jill" way that was laced with mock blondeness...she explained her reason she chose Alabama over Auburn (although she was accepted to both) was "I look so much better in crimson than in orange." Well...I suppose she does.

Red represents states that agree with my philosophy of government moreso according to the political pundits who refer to "red states" and "blue states." And while neither party has an official right to the color red, it is at those political rallies, and conventions that we often see red balloons and confetti falling along with the blue and white.

The color red is certainly associated as the color of love and roses and romance. I remember red construction paper hearts with white paper doilies on top and red heart cinnamon candies that would wake up my mouth. Big Red gum in high school, and songs like "Little Red Corvette" by the artist formerly known as Prince (who might be back to being Prince...I haven't checked lately) blaring on the radio. I remember the red wax lips we would buy from Sing's Food Store at Halloween and how we would mix the coke and cherry Icees together to come up with a unique brown and red beverage that I still adore.

Red is the color that represents Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and KFC. It is red Twizzlers in movie theaters after the red and white striped box of popcorn is grown tired of or down to the kernels. Red is the color of ketchup, tomatoes, apples, and strawberries. It is the color of sweet watermelon on a summer day...along with red bandanas and mosquito bites.

Red goes by so many aliases...crimson, scarlet, maroon, cranberry, ruby, or cardinal. It is vibrant and alive and breathtaking. It is an attention getter...a bonified show stopper. Want to turn a girl's head? Red roses. Want to send a message? Red high heels.

Other colors have their places and attributes...but red represents the surprise, romance, and fire of life. And for those who are attracted to it as a favorite color...I find that those people have a wonderful, irrisistable love of life that is unique and special. Just like my Mom...

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