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”

Triple Feature

Dearest Rachel – It was so good to see you last night, and so many times, and through so much. If only I could convince anybody that you were there. Everything started off with a rather kinetic, video game feel to it. You and I were trying to get through a maze, and sort ofContinue reading “Triple Feature”

Words, Words, Words

Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?Hamlet: Words, words, words. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 Words, words, words!I’m so sick of words!I get words all day throughFirst from him, now from youIs that all you blighters can do?! Eliza Doolittle, “Show Me.” from My Fair Lady, (1956) Dearest Rachel – As a matter ofContinue reading “Words, Words, Words”

“With,” Not “To”

Dearest Rachel – When we were ‘courting,’ for lack of a better term (it wasn’t quite dating, when you were at college and I was working some 150 miles away), we would send music back and forth to each other. It was a way of keeping in touch, sending each other messages that some lyricistContinue reading ““With,” Not “To””

Adhesiveness in Anytown

Dearest Rachel – Last night, after a few hours of gaming with Kevin, I found myself in conversation with another individual on the dating app. She’d sent me a smile, and while I generally tend to limit my connections to those residing here in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, I couldn’t quite figure out whereContinue reading “Adhesiveness in Anytown”

from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together

“May 10 “Actually, today (Monday) would normally be my day to meet with Susie; she just had too many people and too much work in her schedule this week. Then I gave Sally the option of coming over instead. If she had, I probably should’ve asked if we could leave the TV off for aContinue reading “from Rachel: Experiencing Life Together”

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”

Doing It His Way

Dearest Rachel – Not all of my trips across town are terribly interesting. Certainly this mornings wasn’t, unless you count the fact that I had to deliver some mail to the folks that share our address. I didn’t recognize the name on the envelope, and whoever sent it didn’t bother to specify whether South orContinue reading “Doing It His Way”

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”

Mysterious Magazines

Dearest Rachel – Well, your magazine arrived yesterday, like it always has every month for years on end. We’ve never figured out where they came from, or who ordered them for us… or who’s paying for them. Somehow I doubt it’s Bryan Hamilton. I do have at least one conjecture. In your folks’ waning days,Continue reading “Mysterious Magazines”

Ore Wo Sagashite

Anata, Rei-sama – 私は自分が誰であるか、そして人生と愛から何を求めているかを発見する必要があります。 そうでなければ、私は自分が「めぐみ」を見て、彼女があなたかエリンのどちらかであることを願っていることに気付くかもしれません。 Okay… hopefully, I’ve put off all of those who might be scared off by the gratuitous Japanese. We can talk in reasonable privacy. I’m starting this letter I’m sitting on a park bench in Kimball Hill Park, staring at the fountain in the middle of the lake. You and IContinue reading “Ore Wo Sagashite”

That Last Mile is So Much Longer

Dearest Rachel – I have to confess, this title is so true, but I didn’t even have the energy yesterday afternoon to even begin to describe the rest of the day. Especially since I never did find a charge cord downtown, meaning my phone had as little energy as I did. For what it’s worth,Continue reading “That Last Mile is So Much Longer”

The Pointlessness of it All

Dearest Rachel – It hasn’t been the easiest night for sleeping, and I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because I allowed myself to fall asleep in the chair yet again – I’ve really got to stop doing that – but considering how short a period of time it was that I slept there, itContinue reading “The Pointlessness of it All”

from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God

“May 6 (late afternoon – I’m famished and developing a headache) “As worship types go, I think I’m a combination of Naturalist, Enthusiast and (somewhat) Intellectual. “Let’s see, words other than: worship, praise, thanks, hallelujah or amen. So I should try to instead use words like: adore, exalt, magnify, glorify, extol, appreciate, honor, blessed, privileged,Continue reading “from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God”

Not the Worst Way to Make an Impression

Dearest Rachel – Another day, another walk to the ‘office.’ With a stop or two along the way; there are always things that need to be done, after all. First of which was to stop by the bank and drop off my payment for property taxes. I know they’re not due for another week orContinue reading “Not the Worst Way to Make an Impression”

Never Knew I’d Need Notes

Dearest Rachel – At some point in last night’s Grief Share meeting, the video session was going over certain emotions and attitudes we might have within the first few days and weeks. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was told earlier that my grief was ‘too raw’ and it was ‘too soon’ to go throughContinue reading “Never Knew I’d Need Notes”

Spot Macbeth

Dearest Rachel – No, this does not refer to some Shakespearean take on Where’s Waldo, although the idea of Martin Handford drawing a crowd in the Globe Theatre into which the actor portraying the Scottish usurper is trying to blend while being pursued by Macduff and Malcolm makes for an interesting image. Considering Handford’s BritishContinue reading “Spot Macbeth”

The Journey Continues Alone

Dearest Rachel – It’s been several days since I’ve gotten home, but there are still some images from the YMCA of the Rockies that struck me that I haven’t shared with you yet. Throughout the park, I observed a number of memorials set up from and of people who contributed to the park. There wasContinue reading “The Journey Continues Alone”

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?”

Alone at the Airport

Dearest Rachel – I’ve insisted from fairly early on that I wanted to resume my life, and continue to see the world – just that, I wanted to find someone to share those travels with. This is not one of those trips. To be fair, you wouldn’t have been able to come on this oneContinue reading “Alone at the Airport”

Giddyup, Four-One-Nine

Dearest Rachel – Among the many channels that we used to entertain ourselves with on YouTube, both before and during the lockdown (and you probably see where this is going, but the rest of the folks reading this might not), there was a fellow by the name of James Veitch who had a particular talentContinue reading “Giddyup, Four-One-Nine”

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”

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”

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”

from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View

“April 28 and 30” “If I were to try and give a metaphor to life, I think I would go with it being a journey. To me, this isn’t entirely worldly and unbiblical, there is A Pilgrims Progress, and, more importantly, Jesus talks of the narrow road to heaven as opposed to the wide roadContinue reading “from Rachel: Seeing Life from God’s View”

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”

The Brains God Gave Gravel

Dearest Rachel – You may have noticed throughout the course of this these letters that I have written a great deal about Chompers throughout the course of my efforts to adjust to your loss and absence. And considering my general apathy towards him during your lifetime, I’m sure you would find that rather odd. ForContinue reading “The Brains God Gave Gravel”

The Glamour of the Rustic

Dearest Rachel – In the mornings when she comes over to work on this or that room, Jan usually arrives a half an hour before her official schedule. What I mean by this is, when she says she’ll be here by nine, she’ll generally arrive around eight- thirty. It’s the sort of hyper punctuality thatContinue reading “The Glamour of the Rustic”

Amblin’ About

Dearest Rachel – Sorry to disappoint you, but this entry isn’t going to be about old Steve Spielberg’s film studio – not even the bit about the Animaniacs, as much as we might have loved them. This is an anime convention, after all. None of this American garbage here, now. This was supposed to beContinue reading “Amblin’ About”

Walking Him Home

Dearest Rachel – I have just woken up, and am lying in bed, dictating this. This morning’s dream was nothing particularly special. If anything, the scene seemed almost realistic, at least, in appearance. In it, I was walking Chompers home. Not on the return leg of whatever circuit we might be taking; no, I’m talkingContinue reading “Walking Him Home”

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”

A Single Nuke Can Ruin Your Entire Day

Dearest Rachel – I know we never got into the show (which is weird, considering how many shows we did get into), but I do feel like I could’ve benefited from binge watching Rick and Morty at some point. I’m pretty sure that Rick would’ve had an answer for the problem I encountered in myContinue reading “A Single Nuke Can Ruin Your Entire Day”

from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?

“I am chagrined to admit that my driving force would generally be the pursuit of pleasure. The second would be necessity. The latter kicks in when the former is overcome by: hunger, fear (of scoldings etc.) pride (not wanting to accept the image and all the labels I earn), nagging etc.” “I’m not sure whatContinue reading “from Rachel: What Drives Your Life?”

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”

from Rachel: You Are Not an Accident

“April 21, 2004 “My first thought is that I’m pretty content in my skin. I can’t think of much that I still need to accept. But that sounds prideful, so let’s go deeper. I suppose as far as appearance, I love what God has given me, but I don’t like any changes – I pluckContinue reading “from Rachel: You Are Not an Accident”

The Liberation of Surrender

Dearest Rachel – So just last night, I was observing how difficult it was for me to follow my own advice, and simply (and completely) give up on the possibility of finding another life partner like yourself. This morning, on the other hand, I find myself considering just how much better off I am, nowContinue reading “The Liberation of Surrender”

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”

Three Lefts

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right.’ And I’m sure that Relient K weren’t the first people to come up with it when they added the subtitle ‘(but three lefts do)’ to one of their albums. But that’s the full phrase that goes throughContinue reading “Three Lefts”

What Does This Say About Us?

A ·good [righteous] person can look forward to happiness,but ·an evil person can expect nothing [L the hope of an evil person will perish]. Proverbs 10:28, Expanded Bible Dearest Rachel – It wasn’t all that long ago that we were, in fact, looking forward to happiness together. So many of the things that cause most people to struggle inContinue reading “What Does This Say About Us?”

Can’t Recall The Verse

Dearest Rachel – I don’t often set my alarm these days, but it’s necessary on Saturdays, in order to ensure I’m there on time for the men’s Bible study (not to mention the fact that, on the first Saturday of the month – because last week was a holiday – the guys organizing it fixContinue reading “Can’t Recall The Verse”

Observations Along The Way

Dearest Rachel – Depending on when I leave the house, I can (and do) run into a number of people along the way. And I have to admit, I can’t seem to prevent myself from commenting on some of the things I see. To borrow from the legendary Yogi Berra, “you can observe a lotContinue reading “Observations Along The Way”

Fugue State Vignettes

Dearest Rachel – A quick word of warning: this particular letter is not going to make any sense, it’s going to hop between one image or moment and another. That’s because everything listed here happens in my sleep, or just as I’m yanked out of it. So, the other night, I was in in theContinue reading “Fugue State Vignettes”

Outage

Dearest Rachel – So, this evening, I had uploaded a video to YouTube to attach to a letter I was going to send to you regarding July Fourth and fireworks. I was working on the letter itself, and a few videos I’d taken from Saturday to add to the illustrations when… I could no longerContinue reading “Outage”

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”

Early Morning in a Strange City

Let’s go up on the roof beneath the neonPretend we’re foreigners and drink the city inSomewhere between the stairwell and the starlightI find myself holding your hand Mark Heard, “Love is Not the Only Thing,” from Second Hand, 1992 Dearest Rachel – I’d kind of like to start this letter off like a conversation: youContinue reading “Early Morning in a Strange City”

Yet Another Goodbye

Dearest Rachel – It seems the 2021 has been, is, and will be the year of losses for me. Your departure would’ve been more than enough to make it so, but of course there are all these littler ones that follow, or that are expected to follow. You’ve certainly heard plenty from me about Chompers;Continue reading “Yet Another Goodbye”

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…?”

Dreams of Future Passed

Dearest Rachel – To say that the events of the past few years have upended my plans would be rather a gross understatement. Hey, look, kids, check it out – it’s the latest installment of the adventures of Marvel’s newest superhero, Captain Obvious! Or would he be a DC type of character? I don’t know…Continue reading “Dreams of Future Passed”

from Rachel: Letter to Oprah

“Dear Oprah, “[I love your show… blah blah blah] I also love your new song. I think that was so terrific of Paul Simon to write that for you. The song is running through my head at the moment because as he sings about you ‘A story in your eye / Well, speak until yourContinue reading “from Rachel: Letter to Oprah”

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”

Gallagher’s Happy House

Dearest Rachel – There were several things in our lives that we both had knowledge and enjoyment of, but never quite shared as we could have. One, of course, was the nation of Japan, which we both visited and fell in love with before we became a couple – you as a teenager with yourContinue reading “Gallagher’s Happy House”

The Ingenuity of Fools

Dearest Rachel – There’s an old saying that I’m fond of quoting that insists you can’t make anything foolproof, because fools are too ingenious. I’m reminded of it as I watch Chompers stagger about in his little wheelchair. It’s supposed to function on the same principle as training wheels on a children’s bicycle, where theyContinue reading “The Ingenuity of Fools”

Do You Have to Study to Pass the Bechdel Test?

Dearest Rachel – I can’t recall if you’re familiar with the concept of the Bechdel Test. At its most basic, it’s meant to be a measure of the representation of female characters in a work of fiction. The idea is that in order to pass, such a work needs to a.) have at least twoContinue reading “Do You Have to Study to Pass the Bechdel Test?”

What Size His Domain?

Dearest Rachel – For all the time he spends asleep, it’s amazing how hard Chompers resists being put to bed at night time. there are times when it’s an absolutely titanic struggle to get him to find a place where he’s comfortable enough to curl up and go to sleep. Considering how he has veryContinue reading “What Size His Domain?”

Daily Bread

Dearest Rachel – You might remember that one of my favorite Biblical characters is a man who is only mentioned once, wrote a single chapter of Proverbs… and we know pretty much nothing else about him except his name, Agur. That, and the fact that he gave one of the most brutally honest self-evaluations ofContinue reading “Daily Bread”

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”

As Far as the East is From the West

Dearest Rachel – As much as we grew up with pastors and Sunday School teachers reminding us that “the Bible is not a science textbook” with regard to poetic turns of phrase like references to the sun rising or the four corners of the earth, sometimes it’s amazing to note the choice of words thatContinue reading “As Far as the East is From the West”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part nine – conclusion, for now)

Dearest Rachel – The letters that I wrote you back when we were officially courting never had titles. They were either filling you in on the things that were going on in my life while we were separated, or explaining the songs that I was sending you along with the letter, or just telling youContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part nine – conclusion, for now)”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part two – Major)

Dearest Rachel – So yesterday, I mentioned how I rarely ever consulted with God about my plans for the future – or at least, I don’t really recall having engaged in in deep, prayerful discussions with Him on the subject. I know I never heard His voice on any major decision or turning point inContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part two – Major)”

The Middle of the Bed

Dearest Rachel – At home, there’s always something that prevents me from taking up the entirety of the bed. It’s partially a physical question of real estate, where some of your stuff has been lying there. Indeed, I’ve been keeping a couple of your Bible study books there as a reference to flip through andContinue reading “The Middle of the Bed”

The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part one – Introduction)

Dearest Rachel – Looking back over a number of these entries, it’s somewhat embarrassing to see how often everything is peppered with first-person pronouns. “I,” “me,” “my,” and the like are spread all over the place, when this is supposed to be about you. And yet, just about everything I know about you comes fromContinue reading “The Lord Never Spoke to Me (part one – Introduction)”

from Rachel: Lacking Nothing

“‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.’ Psalm 23:1 (most accurate translation for the Hebrew phrase) “Surviving attempted takeovers by the enemy: Colossians 2:8 ‘See to it that no one takes you captive.’ [We have an] active responsibility to protect ourselves. “Who is the authority in my life?” Is it My Life in theContinue reading “from Rachel: Lacking Nothing”

Diamonds and Ash

Dearest Rachel – I would say “I wish you had been there” for this year’s Mother’s Day sermon, but when I am always wishing you were here as it is, it really doesn’t carry the weight that I mean for it to. The thing is, as a general rule, we don’t really have a sermonContinue reading “Diamonds and Ash”

If There Be Aloneness

Dearest Rachel – If there be alonenessLet it befor the pleasure of one’s own company for the striving to understand oneself for the joy of relaxation but most of allLet it beby choice. Mya Anderson (PHS Class of 1988) Roundtable 1986 I have carried this little slice of wisdom, penned by a classmate your ageContinue reading “If There Be Aloneness”

from Rachel: The Importance of Loving Parents

Would you describe yourself as having been filled with the knowledge of God’s love for you? Why or why not? “Yes, I’m sure largely this is easier for me than for some because I grew up with parents who were so grateful to have me and so proud of me and so open about howContinue reading “from Rachel: The Importance of Loving Parents”

Errands

Dearest Rachel – The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening And I’m not even thinking about the training for the Marathon (or, barring actually committing to it, the continuedContinue reading “Errands”

The Golden Rule, Inverted

Dearest Rachel – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s one of the core tenets of most every major religion, at least in terms of dealing with other people (obviously, not necessarily a basis of salvation, since nobody reaches perfection in this life – and even if they were toContinue reading “The Golden Rule, Inverted”

from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77

I will remember my song in the night;I will meditate with my heart,And my spirit ponders: I will remember the deeds of the Lord;I will certainly remember Your wonders of old.I will meditate on all Your work,And on Your deeds with thanksgiving. Psalm 77:6,11,12, New American Standard Bible (NASB) (v.6 “I will remember my song in the night”) What song will you rememberContinue reading “from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77”

Dreams of Disappointment

Dearest Rachel – The other night dear, as I lay sleeping I dreamed I held you in my arms But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken So I hung my head and I cried. Johnny Cash, “You Are My Sunshine” Such an appropriate tune to wake up to, sweetheart, on this third straight AprilContinue reading “Dreams of Disappointment”

from Rachel: On the Wisdom of Solomon

“A metaphorical thought about Solomon and his wisdom, inspired by Ecclesiastes 2:3 and 9 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven duringContinue reading “from Rachel: On the Wisdom of Solomon”