Felling the Tree

Dearest Rachel – It’s not the sort of thing you enjoyed doing; indeed, it had been left undone at our house at the time of the accident (and as a result, was not dealt with for several months thereafter), but the folks are a little more punctual about things like this, and so, Daniel andContinue reading “Felling the Tree”

The Twelfth Pain

Dearest Rachel – I remember your calling me at some point while I was at the ‘office’ last year on this day. “Do you know what’s going on in Washington?” To be sure, I was keeping up with the news feed, but there’s always a lag between the activity and the written word describing it;Continue reading “The Twelfth Pain”

Grains of Rice

Dearest Rachel – What with Christmas day having come and gone, I suppose I ought to set aside any talk about painful Christmas music. But if you’ll indulge me for just one more day, I have a few things to say about this one – and its composer. For one thing, Chris Rice just seemsContinue reading “Grains of Rice”

It Takes More Than Just Me

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned last night about how I needed to get this written down in some way. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find the book in which this recipe is written, and it is one of those few responsibilities I have with regards to cooking as part of our family traditions.Continue reading “It Takes More Than Just Me”

God Bless

Dearest Rachel – Another day of the season, another song to talk about. But this isn’t just any day; it’s Christmas itself. The day of Our Lord. The day when, as my dad often puts it, “the complaint department is closed.” So I will just talk about a song for whom my only complaint isContinue reading “God Bless”

Time and a Half

Dearest Rachel – Back when I was studying calligraphy in junior high, I drew up a motto for my great-aunt Belva that read “Keep serving the Lord: the pay may not be good, but the retirement plan is out of this world.” I’m sure it was lost in the cleanup after her passing (amazing toContinue reading “Time and a Half”

A Cinnamon Roll for Christmas Eve

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned yesterday about picking up a little more than dinner at the mall the other night. And yes, it made the whole trip there that much longer, what with there being a line there every bit as long as each other place I stopped (including twice at the pretzel shop, asContinue reading “A Cinnamon Roll for Christmas Eve”

Bit Insulting, Innit?

Dearest Rachel – Today’s song is a bit of a paradox. I’ve never actually listened to it until today (I mean, we’ve heard it a number of times, but actually listened to it? Hardly). In any event, let’s get it out of the way before I start in on it: As I understand it, itContinue reading “Bit Insulting, Innit?”

Eleven Months Home

Dearest Rachel – I had to save the most painful secular song for today, since it’s been eleven months since the accident. You didn’t think I’d forget what the twenty-third of the month was so soon, did you? It’s hard to think about it that way, since none of us on this since think ofContinue reading “Eleven Months Home”

The Plans That We’d Made

Dearest Rachel – I’ve already talked about a couple of Christmas-adjacent songs that talk more about staying inside and avoiding the worst of the weather, that either leave me envious of the couple that can do just that together, or make me worry if I have to become some kind of creep in order toContinue reading “The Plans That We’d Made”

That’s What I Want

Dearest Rachel – You used to tell me that one of the things that appealed to you about me was the fact that I resembled your dad in a number of different ways. I mean, not so much in looks or in age (thank heaven for that!), but in a playful sense of humor andContinue reading “That’s What I Want”

The House Without

Dearest Rachel – I hope you don’t mind, but you know this was never something I thought was worth bothering with, since we never really celebrated the holidays at our own home. Maybe, if we intend to do more hosting in our renovated place, that might change, but for now, we aren’t really going toContinue reading “The House Without”

Happiness and Cheer?

Dearest Rachel – My objection to the today’s song is not the typical complaint about misery-inducing lyrics; in fact, quite the opposite. What words I can make out through simply listening, are perfectly in line with the festive season: “Christmas time is here / Happiness and cheer / Fun for all that children call /Continue reading “Happiness and Cheer?”

Muddling Through

Dearest Rachel – I have to confess that, as I was putting together yesterday’s letter, I was finding it paradoxically more difficult to write and complain about the songs the more I tried to do so. I was getting somewhat self-conscious about the self-pitying tone of my essay the further along I got. Between tryingContinue reading “Muddling Through”

Don’t Snow Me In

Dearest Rachel – For all the problems that I have with the secular version of Christmas, particularly the music that invokes thoughts of loved ones (who are, of course, no longer with us), I am always reminded that it could be worse – I could live in Japan. There, as you know, Christmas is aContinue reading “Don’t Snow Me In”

A Tourist in Toyland

Dearest Rachel – Since I’ve either a.) been out of the country, or b.) shopping from home (or c.) both a. and b., thanks to the fact that I can shop online from anywhere, including a hotel in Switzerland), I haven’t been hearing a lot of Christmas music this year. It’s a bit of aContinue reading “A Tourist in Toyland”

Mischief Managed

Dearest Rachel – I was just reading the other day something about J. K. Rowling; I think it was somebody admiring her political stands in the face of, how shall we say, rather rabid opposition. The author of the piece actually commented how they weren’t a big fan of the Harry Potter series (being moreContinue reading “Mischief Managed”

Knocking About the City

Dearest Rachel – I had every intention of knocking about the city this afternoon; it’s part of the reason why I arrived early enough to stay the night. I want to look around town, see what Basel has to offer. But with this head cold that I’m dealing with, I feel like I could justContinue reading “Knocking About the City”

An Answer Out Of Season

Dearest Rachel – I saw you last night, but I couldn’t understand you. It was, of course, a dream. I don’t know exactly where we were; I think Daniel and the girls were with us, but the location didn’t look familiar. It was a dream, so it’s probably irrelevant. I just know you were there,Continue reading “An Answer Out Of Season”

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”