Lessons from Logan

Dearest Rachel – When I agreed to allow Logan to move in with us, there were a few things that I was considering in the back of my mind. It certainly wasn’t that we needed the rent money – although, with that being said, we may well have deprived someone else that needed it moreContinue reading “Lessons from Logan”

September Morn

Dearest Rachel – You would think that, of a holiday weekend, there would be more children playing in their lawns, more people out and about working around the house or walking their pets. It’s not as if I’m out and about at an obscenely early hour in the morning, after all; yes, I woke upContinue reading “September Morn”

When the Beings on My Shoulders Both Agree

Dearest Rachel – You’re familiar with the trope, most commonly used in cartoons and comics, of the angel and the devil on a character’s shoulders, each persuading the character toward right and wrong, respectively. We would recognize them as the pulls of conscience and desire, if not specifically sensing separate entities arguing with our ownContinue reading “When the Beings on My Shoulders Both Agree”

At Home For Once

Dearest Rachel – I realize the place has changed dramatically since your departure; you would hardly recognize the kitchen, and its new layout. Even I forget where some things are stored nowadays (in fact, I still couldn’t find enough trivets to go around last night, even though I know there’s more than the one IContinue reading “At Home For Once”

Digging Out From Under

Dearest Rachel – Back in my relative childhood, when the local mall was actually an everything-under-one-roof-mall rather than an open-air shopping center, and bookstores were actually a thing (and the Amazon was nothing more than a really big river in South America), the place included a Kroch’s & Brentano’s that was so big it neededContinue reading “Digging Out From Under”

Fresh Squeezed

Dearest Rachel – While we were at the folks’ place for dinner on Thursday, I mentioned about how I needed to do some grocery shopping on our way home (granted, Meijer isn’t exactly ‘on our way,’ but we would be out and about, so it seemed like something worth taking care of before we gotContinue reading “Fresh Squeezed”

Mission Improbable

Dearest Rachel – Throughout all that time that I was taking care of Chompers for you after the accident, you’ll recall that I told you many times how I’ve never been much for animals. Along those same lines, I’ve always been somewhat contemptuous of animal liberation groups. At best, they tend to be somewhat misguided,Continue reading “Mission Improbable”

Press ‘2’ For Snow

Dearest Rachel – I just sent the letter out to you yesterday, but I wonder if I shouldn’t make ‘Retail Therapy’ a whole new category of story for me to tell you about. There have certainly been enough purchases that I could retroactively add the category to, and I’m sure that I will make moreContinue reading “Press ‘2’ For Snow”

Musgo

Dearest Rachel – It’s one of the stranger reasons I have to contact you this evening; most meals fly under the radar, unless it’s one I put together (and while the kitchen is all but finished, I’ve not yet gotten to the point where I feel comfortable actually cooking in here, particularly when the pots,Continue reading “Musgo”

It’s Never ‘Just Lunch’

Dearest Rachel – I really kind of expected it to be a shorter day, in terms of being out of the house, than most, since all I had planned for the day was to meet Lars for lunch in his neighborhood. Granted, the trip to his neighborhood required budgeting the better part of an hourContinue reading “It’s Never ‘Just Lunch’”

Comic Timing

Dearest Rachel – They say the difference between drama and comedy is mostly a matter of timing. If that’s so, it would explain why I tend to be the straight man amongst our friends, despite being the ‘weird’ one among my colleagues. The day has been a series of mis-timed misadventures, so I figure IContinue reading “Comic Timing”

Cheap and Cheerful Children’s Chocolate

Dearest Rachel – For the longest time, All Souls’ Day and Easter Monday were holidays for us as an immediate family. Not as a religious observation, of course, but more as a shopping event. Assuming we – and by ‘we,’ I mean you – could remember to do so early enough in the day, youContinue reading “Cheap and Cheerful Children’s Chocolate”

Boxing Day

Dearest Rachel – I know next to nothing about where December 26th gets its name. I suppose that’s partly because I don’t live in a Commonwealth nation, where it’s even celebrated. But it seems a very strange name indeed. It would make sense if it had something to do with boxing up gifts that youContinue reading “Boxing Day”

Who Was That Tomato?

Dearest Rachel – During my final year in college, I took both a business class in marketing, and an art class in graphic design. I’m not entirely certain, therefore, which class introduced me to the Wolfschmidt Vodka ad campaign. Dating from either the late 50s or the early 60s, it was one of the firstContinue reading “Who Was That Tomato?”

Filled With DeTERmination

Dearest Rachel – Last night, we were over at the folks’ for dinner, as we are most every Thursday night. It’s one of those things that’s a regular part of our weekly schedule, like club on Monday, study on Wednesday, and so forth. I wonder if some day it might interfere with the possibility ofContinue reading “Filled With DeTERmination”

Memories of Bananas Foster

Dearest Rachel – There are so many things about this trip that seem to be reminding me of our honeymoon trip; maybe it’s just that I’m keeping track for once in my life. Before now, I might have a flash of remembrance – I might even mention it to you at the moment – butContinue reading “Memories of Bananas Foster”

Rubbing It In

Dearest Rachel – I’ve said more than enough times how weird it is to be traveling on my own these days. Yes, you have the freedom to go wherever and whenever you want to at any moment, I’ll not deny it. But it still doesn’t feel right, especially since leisure travel, in particular, seems toContinue reading “Rubbing It In”

Tomatillos

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes, I find myself wondering what my mind is thinking. Then I remember what’s doing the wondering, and reality folds in upon itself. When my own brain doesn’t seem to know what it’s coming up with, I have really fallen down the rabbit hole. Fortunately, the things it comes up with areContinue reading “Tomatillos”

Spring Thaw and Mardi Gras

Dearest Rachel – It seems blasphemous to say it, but sometimes, I’m convinced that the Proverbs I read every morning ought to start with the phrase ‘as a general rule…’ Considering that the man who was inspired to write them was also later inspired to write Ecclesiastes, which, while not directly contradicting some of hisContinue reading “Spring Thaw and Mardi Gras”

Fearing the Echo

Dearest Rachel – I never met the dogs you grew up with: Crispin, who was your mother’s when she met your dad while teaching at university (Their story was an interesting ‘meet-cute,’ and one rife with all manner of battles for employment rights within the academic field and what not, but they’re not particularly relevantContinue reading “Fearing the Echo”

Replacing Chocolate

Dearest Rachel – You might remember, the last time we were on the island, we used up the last of one of the few remaining jars of Hershey’s spread on some marshmallows we placed in the toaster oven. Well, to be perfectly accurate, we put it on the graham crackers that we set atop thoseContinue reading “Replacing Chocolate”

Goodie!

Dearest Rachel – It’s the sort of thing that gamblers at the craps tables always talk about needing, and it’s the last of my Christmas presents – at least, until such time as some girl comes into my life to take your place in our home and family (although I suspect that will be anContinue reading “Goodie!”

Digging Out From the Accumulation

Dearest Rachel – So last night, they were predicting that we would get a serious case of precipitation throughout today. It was to start with rain around midnight (because at that point it was around 40°F or so), and turn to snow overnight. The good thing was that we up in the northwest side wereContinue reading “Digging Out From the Accumulation”

Bluffing With Cards in Hand

Dearest Rachel – Well, sometimes these things resolve themselves. It turned out that, while Erin and Ellen weren’t going to be available, I got a text from Kerstin asking whether we were getting together Friday night – guess she was getting used to it being a weekly thing, for which I don’t blame her. SinceContinue reading “Bluffing With Cards in Hand”

A Meal in Itself

Dearest Rachel – I try to remember some of the inside jokes we used to share with each other as opportunity presents itself, but sometimes, I don’t have quite what I need to put it together. For instance, this picture is as close as I can get to the particular joke I’m looking for, asContinue reading “A Meal in Itself”

A Quiet Cup of Cocoa

Dearest Rachel – Well, for all the food I managed to ply the girls with last night (and some of the stuff that they brought in turn), we never got around to the cocoa. I had been hoping to use some of the stuff that I had gotten for Christmas from ‘Santa’ (ha ha) withContinue reading “A Quiet Cup of Cocoa”

For Future Reference

Dearest Rachel – I propose that New Year’s resolutions are difficult to keep in part because we tend to put the bar way too high for our own safety. We make these grandiose promises to ourselves as to what we plan on doing in the coming year, only to be discouraged as it becomes evidentContinue reading “For Future Reference”

Making the Most of Last Call

Dearest Rachel – So this is it. Effective the beginning of next week, the law comes down, not only in Chicago itself but throughout the entire county: no one may go out in public unless they have proof of vaccination. What that means is that Daniel will not be able to go out to aContinue reading “Making the Most of Last Call”

Basel Street Food

Dearest Rachel – So this isn’t really part of the series as such; but, since one still needs to eat, I might as well tell you about the food on the streets. It’s not as if I’d gotten ravenously hungry over the course of my wanderings this morning, but, with all the passing by thisContinue reading “Basel Street Food”

And Then There Was One

Dearest Rachel – Like you, I grew up with the understanding that one needed three square meals a day: the whole breakfast-lunch-dinner thing. I was a card-carrying member of the Clean Plate Club, and always tried to get my money’s worth out of the meal plan back in college. My point is, I come byContinue reading “And Then There Was One”

Relaxing the Rules

Dearest Rachel – This is the fourth in our serious on life – specifically, eating – in quarantine. So for today’s story about the things I’m eating, I have to issue a confession. I assumed that, under the American breakfast, I was only allowed to choose one of each category. You know, one of beverages,Continue reading “Relaxing the Rules”

A Little Lighter Fare

Dearest Rachel – It seems I am being encouraged to continue writing about my meals as I go from day to day. So you can consider this a third in the series. It may not be the most exotic of food, but some of it is not likely to cross my plate if and whenContinue reading “A Little Lighter Fare”

On Today’s Menu

Dearest Rachel – Since for now, the only thing that changes around here from day today is the food that I’m eating, I might as well keep you up-to-date. So, consider this to be part two of the series; part one, if you skipped over it (it was pretty long – sorry about that, that’sContinue reading “On Today’s Menu”

At Least My Tongue Can Travel

Dearest Rachel – Since I’ve now been confined to this hotel room for the next week and a half, there isn’t going to be much to report as far as actual goings-on are concerned. For all I know, you may get to read about me going stir crazy as I either convalesce from this cold-that’s-not-a-cold,Continue reading “At Least My Tongue Can Travel”

Traditions No More

Dearest Rachel – I honestly thought I could do it. I thought I could just get through the details and activities of the Thanksgiving holiday without being ambushed by your loss. I kept myself so busy, between the work in the booth for the Thanksgiving Eve service the night before, and the preparations for theContinue reading “Traditions No More”

Public Cake

Dearest Rachel – Let me start out by saying that this is not a love story. And I feel like I should be apologizing for that. This whole collection of letters to you were supposed to be an outpouring of love and reminiscences about our time together and what you meant to me. And whileContinue reading “Public Cake”

Chick Magnet

Dearest Rachel – I doubt it’s only because he’s in town, but if I thought the girls would come over more often because he was, I’d invite Kevin to come back to the Chicago area on a more frequent basis. After all, this is the second time in a week they’ve been over, whereas it’sContinue reading “Chick Magnet”

Rules Lawyering

Dearest Rachel – So yesterday, being Sunday, was our usual game night. Only, it was anything but usual. What with Kevin being up here for the week, this was an opportunity for the four of us who have been meeting online to get together in person for the first time since the pandemic – andContinue reading “Rules Lawyering”

Morning Un-Routine

Dearest Rachel – The Army used to have a slogan about how “we do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Considering that I’m sitting in the veterinary parking lot, and it’s a quarter to nine, while I have to confess that while I’m not Army material, I’m at least getting started onContinue reading “Morning Un-Routine”

Knowing Your Limits

Dearest Rachel – So the better part of today was spent hiking one of the trails up here in the Rocky Mountains. We started in Glacier Gorge, with the intent of going to Sky Pond. Sounds like a plan. The only thing is, that plan involves hiking 4 1/2 miles in either direction, and toContinue reading “Knowing Your Limits”

Unsatisfying Vengeance

Dearest Rachel – It wasn’t all that long ago (as recently as the wee hours of Sunday morning, in fact) that I would take Chompers out at what I considered to be late at night – which is, as you know, anytime after 10:30 – and prepare him for bed, with all the usual bedtimeContinue reading “Unsatisfying Vengeance”

Poor Impulse Control

Dearest Rachel – And this… is why you never shop hungry. There’s a lot of things I’ve been doing with more frequency now that I am the lone adult in the household. Yes, yes, I know Daniel is officially an adult, but he is still a dependent child as long as he lives here, IContinue reading “Poor Impulse Control”

Late for Dinner

Dearest Rachel – “You can call me anything you want; just don’t call me late for dinner!” It was probably one of the first jokes I was ever told by my grandfather as a little kid, and one that I never really got at that age (“what kind of name is Late For Dinner, andContinue reading “Late for Dinner”

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”

Waiting for a Table

Dearest Rachel – Since I woke up this morning with little to no memory of last nights dream (which, come to think of it, is more how things used to be when you and I were together nights), I figure I might as well instead relate the events of last evening to you as partContinue reading “Waiting for a Table”

Cornfest

Dearest Rachel – It’s the first Saturday in August, and you know what that means. Well, yes, they did serve food at the men’s Bible study this morning (you might recall that Oracio used to own – and still works at – a pizza joint. Yeah, pizza for breakfast, prepared on a grill. Things theseContinue reading “Cornfest”

Just Desserts

Dearest Rachel – So I get home this afternoon – evening? – from the ‘office,’ and Daniel is asleep in his recliner, YouTube still yammering on from the laptop in… well, his lap. Even the dog is asleep. So, rather than bothering to wake them, I figure I’ll make a dent in the leftover pizzaContinue reading “Just Desserts”

One Last Task

Dearest Rachel – And so it ends. As I said, the convention always ends on an anti-climax. Not with a bang, but a whimper, just like the end of the world. But there’s always something that needs doing, and since we always contemplated the idea of doing… something… it falls to me one more timeContinue reading “One Last Task”

Il Faut Manger

Dearest Rachel – This letter is running concurrent with the previous one, because there are that many impossible things to do at the moment. All I’m doing at this point is waiting for the marketplace to open, and then I’ll be going to breakfast. ‘One must eat,’ after all… The contrast between last night andContinue reading “Il Faut Manger”

Commercial Break

Dearest Rachel – As crass as I consider it to be to acknowledge it most of the time, everything in life floats upon a sea of money. Very little in life gets done until someone gets paid – or at least is given a promise that they will. Everything costs something… no free lunch, andContinue reading “Commercial Break”

A Pallet of Pop

Dearest Rachel – You know, I’m a trip to the supermarket really shouldn’t wreck me, especially not after all this time. And yet, here we are from time to time. The thing is, I almost never went to Meier on my own. While I’m sure you went by yourself more often than not, I almostContinue reading “A Pallet of Pop”

Leftoverture

Dearest Rachel – You know full well that I’ve never been a fan of leftovers. Although it’s not the food per se – give me a half-full pizza box from Lou Malnati’s, and I’ll be happy for days – it’s more a question of the obligation to eat it within a certain amount of time;Continue reading “Leftoverture”

Kitchen Jazz

Dearest Rachel – Unlike you and your family and their recipes, I tended to improvise in the kitchen – a lot. When we would make spaghetti every Monday evening (and later, once Awana moved to Monday, every Friday evening), I would just brown some ground beef, pour in the spaghetti sauce, dump all manner ofContinue reading “Kitchen Jazz”

I Can’t Be Overdrawn…

Dearest Rachel – Well, you know the punch to that line; I hardly have to recite it to you. The weird thing is, for the last week and a half, I’ve had the exact opposite problem – we were down to our last two or three checks. So how are we going to pay billsContinue reading “I Can’t Be Overdrawn…”

Dreams of a Fast Food Breakfast

Dearest Rachel – One of the many books that you left behind was a reissued copy of Windsor McCay’s “Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend,” wherein aficionados of the titular grilled cheese with mustard sandwich who’d eaten it too late at night would suffer from bizarre nighttime visions not unlike those of his later, more famousContinue reading “Dreams of a Fast Food Breakfast”

A Bountiful Harvest

Dearest Rachel – Normally, when he barks to be let out during the day, I’m not the one home to put Chompers out; that’s something Daniel handles. Even when I’m home, I’m usually busy with Jan in another part of the house. And during weekends and holidays, when I am the go-to for getting himContinue reading “A Bountiful Harvest”

Can’t Make Him Eat

Dearest Rachel – Since, like you, Daniel stays up until… I honestly don’t know when, I find myself debating as to whether or not to go out and get something for him to eat for breakfast when he does finally wake up, especially on days like today, when I intend to head across town toContinue reading “Can’t Make Him Eat”

Without the Guest of Honor

Dearest Rachel – So. After planning off and on for the better part of a week, we’re actually holding your birthday party. Just… without you. No singing “Happy Birthday,” either. Not only aren’t you here to hear it, but that song sets Daniel off, as you well know. His synesthesia causes him to have perfectContinue reading “Without the Guest of Honor”

The Joy of Introductions

Dearest Rachel – At the risk of leaning hard against the fourth wall, I’m fully aware that you will never read a word of these letters; they are, rather, a way for me to memorialize you before the potential world that is the internet. Would that everyone had met you while you still walked theContinue reading “The Joy of Introductions”

Postpone-Mints

Dearest Rachel – So I came home early today from the ‘office’ (actually, I wasn’t at the office all that long today, since I was meeting Pastor Scott for lunch. It still takes some getting used to meeting him as a peer and friend, rather than in a pastor-to-congregant basis), because Jan warned me sheContinue reading “Postpone-Mints”

“Sister Repellant”

Dearest Rachel – You can tell from the title what this is about, can’t you? Yep, I’d cleared a spot on the stove for ourselves, and I decided to cook last night. Black bean soup, one of our old favorites. Always welcome during the cold winter months. Wonder why I haven’t made it earlier… InContinue reading ““Sister Repellant””