Glitches, Botches, Dreams and Reality

Dearest Rachel – For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been watching several new channels that I’m sure you would’ve appreciated were you still around, hanging out with us in the family room while YouTube was running in the background. We started looking for such channels after watching a video essay on the concept itself,Continue reading “Glitches, Botches, Dreams and Reality”

Passion Endured

The death of ·one that belongs to the Lord [his loyal ones/saints]    is precious in his ·sight [L eyes]. Psalm 116:15, Expanded Bible Dearest Rachel – You’d probably think, based on the title of this letter, that this is going to be another one of those essays where I go on and on about how much I miss this orContinue reading “Passion Endured”

The Payoff

Dearest Rachel – After pondering last night’s dream, I found myself wondering about how, exactly, I would be expected to make good on such a wager in the first place. For that matter, for the other guy – whoever the heck he was – to even expect me to do so would have required himContinue reading “The Payoff”

Betting Our Lives

Dearest Rachel – Well. Thank heavens that wasn’t anything more than a dream. I couldn’t tell you the specifics, exactly. And in fact, it probably doesn’t make any difference as to who the teams were that were involved, other than the fact that they were playing football. All that really matters is that time wasContinue reading “Betting Our Lives”

Rich Fools

Dearest Rachel – I will always remember the story that you used to tell about your mom‘s father, who worked for the SEC in its early days. It was a fairly lucrative job as I understand it (working for the government often is), and most of his colleagues were both younger than him, and decidedlyContinue reading “Rich Fools”

Keep the Bar Low

Dearest Rachel – In all the letters that I’ve written to you since I’ve started doing this, I’ve mentioned several times about your parents’ astonishingly low expectations for the two of us; how they were afraid that ours was no more than a ‘starter marriage,’ whatever that is, and how they were pleasantly surprised atContinue reading “Keep the Bar Low”

What Was So Important, Anyway?

Dearest Rachel – You might remember how, back when the magazine still existed, I would buy myself a copy of Life at the end of the year as a sort of memory refresher; their “Year in Pictures” issue. This is what happened in the world during the year, the important stuff, the important people, theContinue reading “What Was So Important, Anyway?”

Real Life Rickrolling

Dearest Rachel – I would like to think that I wouldn’t have to explain the concept of the rickroll to anyone on the internet. Anyone who’s been out here any length of time has probably been conned into clicking a link that took them to Mr. Astley’s music video, and those who haven’t, really justContinue reading “Real Life Rickrolling”

The Tomato in the Fruit Salad

Dearest Rachel – Well, I have no idea where that came from. Obviously, our university experience wasn’t nearly so unpleasant, but there you are. I literally just woke up from chasing down a professor, who made it abundantly clear that anyone who arrived at his classroom later than he did would be immediately locked out,Continue reading “The Tomato in the Fruit Salad”

Present People

Dearest Rachel – I’ve mentioned before to you that I’ve had some difficulty with regard to the traditional gift exchange that is a part of Christmas: what do I want, or more to the point, what can they get for me? Materially speaking, I have pretty much anything I need, and if Daniel or IContinue reading “Present People”

The Wind Has No Answer

Dearest Rachel – I wonder if you ever bother to look down on the earth from wherever you may be. How fast is it moving, from your perspective? They say that the spin is a thousand miles an hour at the equator, but what is that on a sphere of 24,000 miles in circumference? CanContinue reading “The Wind Has No Answer”

A Time to Show Up, A Time to Take Off

Dearest Rachel – So, last night was the final Awana club meeting for the calendar year. There was also a get together of the Grief Share group that Cheryl was hosting at her place, and I didn’t want to miss that. So after checking with Daniel as to how he felt about serving at SparksContinue reading “A Time to Show Up, A Time to Take Off”

Culture Stunned

Dearest Rachel – Over the last week and a half, I’ve said a number of times about how ‘what’s mundane for one person is exotic for another.’ Naturally, it stands to reason that this situation goes both ways. What’s particularly weird is how it’s happened to me in both directions. I can’t say that IContinue reading “Culture Stunned”

More Than You’ll Ever Have

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know when I first heard it; probably from someone leaving a bad movie at a theater. “Well, that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.” It seems the sort of thing I could get away with saying at the moment. Sure, I have travel insurance, and that’ll coverContinue reading “More Than You’ll Ever Have”

The Imperative of ‘Be Still’

Dearest Rachel – For all the suggestions I made in my last letter about how to keep oneself sane and on an even keel throughout a situation such as mine, I mentioned reading and keeping up with the news, but I neglected to mention reading the most important thing of all. Maybe it’s so muchContinue reading “The Imperative of ‘Be Still’”

A Traveler’s Nightmare, An Introvert’s Dream

Dearest Rachel – Morning in Basel, and as it would happen, my window is faced to receive the sun. And the sun, for once, is more than happy to come in. it’s a bright and cheery morning. Were I in worse straits, I might think it was mocking me. As it is, I am willingContinue reading “A Traveler’s Nightmare, An Introvert’s Dream”

Lessons From Tippecanoe

Dearest Rachel – I woke up at what I thought was the morning (actually, it turned out to be eleven something at night here, meaning it was barely four in the afternoon back home) thinking about President William Henry Harrison. I know that sounds silly – and there’s a ridiculous amount of silly to wadeContinue reading “Lessons From Tippecanoe”

This Present Tense

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure you know that I want to have a good relationship with Daniel. I want to be able to encourage and praise him for the good that he does (even if it’s not in my presence). But how do I praise him, when I don’t find out about the good thatContinue reading “This Present Tense”

Dancing While It’s All Torn Down

Dearest Rachel – This is probably what comes of driving to the ‘office’ as the weather chills, and the rains that fall are cold and unpleasant. As I’ve said, I’m no runner, and I have no desire to expose myself to that sort of weather if I don’t have to. That being said, it’s suchContinue reading “Dancing While It’s All Torn Down”

Can’t Buy Me

Dearest Rachel – You might remember, before I got into (and got the two of you into) certain websites of a more political nature, I used to practice my reading voice by reciting bits out of the Onion. One of our recurring favorites was the horoscope section, allegedly written by retired machinist and A.A.P.B.-certified astrologist,Continue reading “Can’t Buy Me”

A Fifth Freedom

Dearest Rachel – Many years ago, back during the throes of World War II, Norman Rockwell created a series of paintings entitled ‘The Four Freedoms,’ highlighting the liberties we have as Americans that made this country what it was. And yes, I’m using the past tense, because it seems that everybody and his uncle SamContinue reading “A Fifth Freedom”

Small Steps in the Morning

Dearest Rachel – I know I touch on the topic from time to time, but for the most part, I’m loathe to talk about politics in my letters to you. To be sure, that wasn’t always the case when you were around; like with my dad at the dinner table, I enjoyed sparring with youContinue reading “Small Steps in the Morning”

Time-Released Time

Dearest Rachel – I think I remember your roommate (and eventual maid of honor) Elizabeth talking about how, when she was young, she would occasionally find herself scared sleepless pondering the concept of eternity. The idea of time going on, and on, and on forever without an end terrified her. What would you do withContinue reading “Time-Released Time”

Empty Reminders

Dearest Rachel – It doesn’t really follow to mourn a place you never patronized, but we always agreed it was said to see a business leave the area, regardless. Every empty restaurant, even one that we never got around to visiting, is still a blight on the landscape for sitting vacant. And let’s not getContinue reading “Empty Reminders”

Mercenary Worship

Dearest Rachel – You know, ordinarily something like a dream about Christmas shopping would be more of a nightmare – and let’s be honest, this Christmas is both going to be a lot easier (in terms of not having to wrack my brain trying to find something that you might truly want or enjoy) andContinue reading “Mercenary Worship”

But Father, By Your Grace

Dearest Rachel – I almost feel the need to apologize for upstaging you today; this being Sunday, I would be posting (and I have posted) some of your notes from the Purpose-Driven Life journal you were working on in 2004. But this is likely to overshadow it, I’m afraid. Of course, why shouldn’t it? MarathonContinue reading “But Father, By Your Grace”

Can’t Get Too Comfortable

Dearest Rachel – I swear, honey, I have got to learn – or perhaps, rather unlearn – about falling asleep in the rocking chair. Namely, that I really shouldn’t do that. It messes up my sleep schedule, breaking the night in half. The trouble is, it’s too comfortable in that chair. I watch videos withContinue reading “Can’t Get Too Comfortable”

Only From A Distance

Dearest Rachel – I haven’t talked to you all that much recently about how things are going on the dating front. Not because I think you’d be jealous (while you never explicitly gave me the permission to find someone else after you were gone like I gave you, I’m pretty sure that your reaction whenContinue reading “Only From A Distance”

American Royalty

Good morning, honey – I woke up this morning with the – not realization, exactly, as it was a dream and cannot be relied on – that Tom Wopat and John Schneider might well have just been heavily into stock cars during their days at Hollywood High School, and lucked into a television series fromContinue reading “American Royalty”

Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?

Dearest Rachel – One of the things they talked about at Grief Share last night was the difference between actively pursuing suicide, and the simple desire to no longer live. The latter is an attitude of “if you were to take me, too, God, I wouldn’t mind,” and is a fairly normal reaction to theContinue reading “Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?”

A Day to Remember

Dearest Rachel – Twenty-nine years ago today, we were simply hanging out at the hotel, waiting for family and friends to arrive and greeting them as they did. Only one story stands out with me at this point – most of the others, I’m afraid, have faded into obscurity. It was some of your mom’sContinue reading “A Day to Remember”

The Box of War

Dearest Rachel – I don’t think you performed this before I was aware of you; at least, not when you performed it for the BASIC group as part of a talent night. If I recall, you had also recited this as part of a similar talent night on the educational cruise you took with yourContinue reading “The Box of War”

This Is Only A Test

Dearest Rachel – So this morning, as I finally set out to walk across town to the ‘office’ at my folks’ place, I was mildly startled by the slowly rising wail of klaxons in the air, eventually surrounding me on all sides until I was very nearly at the (all but deserted) downtown area. It’sContinue reading “This Is Only A Test”

Unsettled

Dearest Rachel – It’s a challenging thing to try to navigate the ocean that is the dating pool. I chatted with a woman who seemed frustrated that the men she was meeting didn’t seem to know what they wanted out of a woman. Since I didn’t see her as a potential match (and therefore wasContinue reading “Unsettled”

In Defiance of Entropy

Dearest Rachel – When I was a kid, I collected some book about the ‘Official Rules.’ I don’t recall if that was what was titled, but I think it may have been. These weren’t rules for a game, or instructions for anything in particular; just observations on how life worked, or didn’t. Stuff like Murphy’sContinue reading “In Defiance of Entropy”

Group Therapy

Dearest Rachel – It’s surprising to consider how busy my weekends are, especially when I’m getting questions from strangers about whether or not I’m free, and I have to answer ‘well, no, not really.’ Today has been a little bit more than usual, however. For what it’s worth, Pastor Joel seems to think I’m readyContinue reading “Group Therapy”

Talking to Thin Air

Dearest Rachel – There are some days in which I have to confess I’m not all that motivated to write you these letters. Sometimes it’s that I’m distracted by other things that require me to respond to them, so I spend my writing energy on something – or someone – else, thus causing what IContinue reading “Talking to Thin Air”

When the Veil Pulls Back

Dearest Rachel – I wonder if, at the moment of your passing, you are exposed to all the answers. Does the Lord sees fit to, at the moment which you can no longer do anything about it, release to you the wisdom of the ages, and the minutiae of how His plan is meant toContinue reading “When the Veil Pulls Back”

Civic Duty Never Ends

Dearest Rachel – Out of all the mail received yesterday, the only thing that wasn’t either an advertisement or a plea for money (but I suppose I repeat myself) was a summons for you to appear for jury duty in about a month for now. I suppose, since your death was recorded in a differentContinue reading “Civic Duty Never Ends”

All the Same, All Around the World

Dearest Rachel – You know how our Boy with the Blaze, Simon Whistler, loves to talk about how ‘the past was the worst.’ Heck, he’s even made T-shirts with the slogan on it. He’s hardly wrong. I didn’t save too many of the books that we brought back from your folks (again, that merciless diktatContinue reading “All the Same, All Around the World”

Out in a Freezing Rain

Dearest Rachel – I’m not gonna play the song here and now, because it deserves it’s own essay sometime in the future, but Mark Heard wrote “Another Good Lie” about those well-intentioned lies he had been told in his younger days by his closest friends and those older and supposedly wiser than himself. Things likeContinue reading “Out in a Freezing Rain”

Self-Indulgence and Survivor’s Guilt

Dearest Rachel – Among the many reasons why I wish you were still here, you could remind me of some of the things we did together back in the day. I have mostly vague recollections, and the occasional sharp image or phrase, but that’s about it. Sometimes, the only way I can remember when somethingContinue reading “Self-Indulgence and Survivor’s Guilt”

It’s Only Property – But it’s All We Have

Dearest Rachel – Since I was awoken this morning by the dog whimpering (he’d pooped in his sleep on the blanket yet again – I do sometimes wonder why I wash it every time he does this, as this means I’ll wind up sticking it in the laundry almost every day at this rate), thisContinue reading “It’s Only Property – But it’s All We Have”

Secular Answers

Dearest Rachel – You might remember the many times that we would talk together about various issues of the day, and what’s up with the younger generation. Part of that had to do with one of my ideas for a YouTube channel – I was hoping to illustrate to a younger audience than ourselves (which,Continue reading “Secular Answers”

If You’re Looking for Devils

Dearest Rachel – When I was a freshman in high school, I think it was our youth group that went to another church where there was a presentation about the evils of rock music. I heard it all there: the ‘fact’ that the Eagles’ Hotel California album featured Anton LeVay head of the church ofContinue reading “If You’re Looking for Devils”

Trying to Take My Own Advice

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure by now that you’ve noticed a lot of my letters to you seem a little bit disjointed and disorganized. They do tend to bounce around from thought to thought within the alleged confines of the topic I’ve decided to cover in the letter (and even then sometimes it’s hard toContinue reading “Trying to Take My Own Advice”

The Drama Llama

Dearest Rachel – Among the piles of clothing that filled the sunroom once upon a time, there were some Christmas presents that you never got the chance to enjoy. There was the odd item that didn’t arrive in time, since you had ordered them for yourself (it was a standing agreement that if you foundContinue reading “The Drama Llama”

Nevermind

Here we are now, entertain us… Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, from Nevermind (1991) Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?! Maximus (Russell Crowe), Gladiator (2000) Dearest Rachel – Well, I said that I would let you know about the festival once I actually went to one (Although I specified that it would beContinue reading “Nevermind”

To What Purpose?

Dearest Rachel – It has been a while since I last identified myself as such, and probably even longer since someone else has, but the other day, I was told that I was “task-oriented.” Now, that’s not news to me; in my many struggles with my boss back in the day, I often brought upContinue reading “To What Purpose?”

Not in the Night Soil Business

Dearest Rachel – Leave it to the Victorians to come up with such a quaint and pleasant-sounding term for a decidedly unpleasant job dealing with decidedly unpleasant material. In the days before indoor plumbing was common, human waste was removed from the privies and cesspools of urban dwellings and transported out of the city byContinue reading “Not in the Night Soil Business”

The End of Pride Month…?

Dearest Rachel – So, today is June 30th. And we all know what that means: the end of Pride Month, apparently. WordPress even got in on the act a couple of days early; their app, which has been a swirl of colors for most of the month, changed back to its standard basic blue onContinue reading “The End of Pride Month…?”

Culture Is Not Forever

Dearest Rachel – There have been a number of days when I’m literally writing to you at the last minute, standing around waiting for Chompers to do his business, or waiting for him to finally succumb to sleep. And as I wonder what topic to discuss with you, I can think of nothing else toContinue reading “Culture Is Not Forever”

A Bit Player In My Own Story

Dearest Rachel – For the better part of the last century, at least, it’s been easy to think of our lives as a movie, with ourselves at the center of the story. I suppose it might have been thought this way prior to the popularization of the cinema, with the story being literature instead –Continue reading “A Bit Player In My Own Story”