Missing a Name

Dearest Rachel – A few deliveries arrived over the weekend for the folks, as I work on the beginning of the holiday-season shopping list. The last quarter of the year includes quite a few extras for the family that not everyone has to deal with, such as Mom and Dad’s anniversary at the beginning ofContinue reading “Missing a Name”

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”

Woefully Unprepared

Dearest Rachel – I imagine that this a sensation you were quite familiar with in your day; I woke up this morning realizing I haven’t done my homework for a long time – well, at least for this week. And as a result, I’m going to show up at the Bible study woefully unprepared forContinue reading “Woefully Unprepared”

from Rachel: The Heart of Worship

“4/29 “Truth be told, I am still holding back several areas of my life. “As far as early morning devotion time goes, I don’t want to move up my alarm time if I haven’t gotten to bed by 12, but to do so, I need to head upstairs with Daniel, which means I need toContinue reading “from Rachel: The Heart of Worship”

The Futility of Collection

Dearest Rachel – So the other day, I started working on those video tapes from downstairs; playing them on one of our old VCRs, running the output through the converter box, and turning them into digital files. I’ll probably be putting one of them up on my channel at some point today, because I needContinue reading “The Futility of Collection”

Thousands of Hours to Go

Dearest Rachel – I went through three VCRs trying to figure out what was going wrong. It turned out that the reason there was no adequate picture was because I shouldn’t have plugged the connection in all the way. I think I’m gonna have to go back and explain this to you. Let me justContinue reading “Thousands of Hours to Go”

A Touch of Nervous Energy

Dearest Rachel – What with having woken up before six o’clock on a Saturday to shower and tend to the dog (although in fairness, I actually managed to do the former without waking up the old guy! Huzzah!), making a point to attend this morning’s Bible study, followed by running about on errands until aboutContinue reading “A Touch of Nervous Energy”

The Last of the Crawl Space

Dearest Rachel – You probably remember that scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That harrowing bit when Judge Doom announced that he would “try, convict and ex-ecute” Roger, all while nonchalantly lowering an otherwise inoffensive (and subsequently terrified) clown shoe to its death in a barrel of ‘Dip.’ That was the sensation I felt whenContinue reading “The Last of the Crawl Space”

from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment

“May 1” “I should try to remember C.S. Lewis’ quote ‘All that is not eternal is eternally useless.’” “Back to my life metaphor (part five) – I am journeying through a foreign land toward my real home. “(Camp out, don’t build a house.)” “I should, today and every day, try to value work more andContinue reading “from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment”

I Need the Hat and Bullwhip

Dearest Rachel – I want to first point out that I don’t say that out of any need to be ‘cool’ or anything – although those accessories would seem undeniably make me look a lot cooler than I am. It’s also not just because this is turning into an archaeological dig of our relationship. It’sContinue reading “I Need the Hat and Bullwhip”

Getting Started When You Can’t

Dearest Rachel – My morning starts at ten ‘til six; that’s when I find myself waking up organically. Some wag on the Internet has made the assertion that one’s alarm clock represents one’s theme song, because that’s how you begin most every episode of your life. If that’s the case, then it would seem thatContinue reading “Getting Started When You Can’t”

No Dead Bodies, But Skeletons Nonetheless

Dearest Rachel – I have a feeling we’re not going to be making a whole lot of progress today. Today Jan has resolved to begin work on the crawlspace, and while I know you kept most of our Christmas stuff and the stuff for the island down there, if there’s anything else from anywhere else,Continue reading “No Dead Bodies, But Skeletons Nonetheless”

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”

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”

Nevermore?

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes you don’t see the whole story all at once. Sometimes, what you see at one point might be considered remarkable, but then more happens later that adds to the unfolding story. Yesterday, we received the strangest visitors; a pair of painters who claimed to have been from several doors down north.Continue reading “Nevermore?”

The Return Trip

God, grant us strength todayAs we go our separate ways.Though we do not know quite when,Shield us ’til we meet again. me, this morning Dearest Rachel – And so it goes, as they say in Tralfamadore. It’s time (and past time, compared to almost everyone else) to return to life as usual… whatever that isContinue reading “The Return Trip”

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”

Always One More Thing

Dearest Rachel – Now that you’ve been gone for all this time, I guess it falls to me to pull the “just one more thing” routine before heading out on a trip. Bear in mind, I was in no hurry to leave today – and I’m still not. Kris was coming over to clean, andContinue reading “Always One More Thing”

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”

Part Of Each Other’s World

Dearest Rachel – Years before I met you – indeed, before I even graduated from high school (although after my relationship with Chris fell apart) – I had come up with a name for my hoped-for “someone,” much like I have done these past few months with the concept of “Megumi.” While I gave itContinue reading “Part Of Each Other’s World”

I’m So Sorry, Mrs. Gecsy

Dearest Rachel – There’s a lot of wrenching decisions to be made in the process of cleaning up the house. One of those is the question of what to do with all the artwork. Like with the pictures of your family going back generations and then out several times removed, I have no emotional connectionContinue reading “I’m So Sorry, Mrs. Gecsy”

Left Over From the Move

Dearest Rachel – Rather than talk to Daniel about the people he listens to, I figured we might as well work on the stuff in his room. After all, we’re down to his room as far as the cleaning process goes. It will make more sense, and be less painful, if he’s involved in theContinue reading “Left Over From the Move”

Birthday Plans Gone Awry

Dearest Rachel – There are times when I wish I was better at writing at certain hours. The early mornings, in particular, are fairly conducive to the process, as there’s nobody up but me and the dog. Even on our busy thorough fare, cars are few and far between at this hour. I have theContinue reading “Birthday Plans Gone Awry”

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…”

Out of the Closet

Dearest Rachel – I know you’re looking at that title; and no, it doesn’t mean that. Just take it literally, like you’re supposed to. I stayed home from the office today, because both Jan and Kris were over as part of the (seemingly) never-ending cleaning effort. I left Kris to her own devices – andContinue reading “Out of the Closet”

Problems With My Parenting

Dearest Rachel – So the folks have developed this routine of inviting us over almost every Thursday night. It’s really not unlike back in the days when you would be visiting your parents for a week, or those times you would go on women’s retreats, or any other point in which you were away fromContinue reading “Problems With My Parenting”

Three Hundred

Dearest Rachel – This is the second week in a row that Jan‘s charges for her time have amounted to three hundred dollars exactly. And like I told her last week, the thought immediately runs through my head as I look at the room that we’ve been working on for the past few hours: This!Continue reading “Three Hundred”

Of Madness And Memories

Dearest Rachel – In literature, the color yellow seems to be associated very closely with madness. There’s The King in Yellow referenced by Lovecraft, the story of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Gilman, and so forth. I think that, in some way, it’s why Ellen chose it to serve as the color of what weContinue reading “Of Madness And Memories”

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…?”

Before We Close the Lid

Dearest Rachel – I confess that there are some days where I’m still at a loss as to how to deal with Jan. She’s great fun to be around, and she pushes me to do what needs to be done. Of course, it’s that very part of her that leaves me stuck for how toContinue reading “Before We Close the Lid”

Pennies From Heaven

Dearest Rachel – So yesterday, after Mike and Linda came by to measure the kitchen for remodeling, Jan also came by to work more with me on the office. Bear in mind that this isn’t the first day we’ve been working in the office; we did get started on Monday, and spent a full dayContinue reading “Pennies From Heaven”

Fear Of Failing Memory

Dearest Rachel – People sometimes tell me I have an impressive memory. And I suppose, for the things I learned in childhood, that’s not far from the mark. I would memorize Bible verses and the like for Awana, and many of them have stayed with me just like some of them actually advertise: “Train upContinue reading “Fear Of Failing Memory”

Unaccustomed As I Am

Dearest Rachel – I’ve mentioned this before, but it is different to give these letters titles. I mean, if I were writing to you directly, a title wouldn’t make it any more eye-catching: you would read it because it came from me. No, the titles are meant to grab the eyes of those you’ve comeContinue reading “Unaccustomed As I Am”

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”

Moving On Up

Dearest Rachel – Yes, we’re moving on up, to the upstairs of the split-level section of the house. Unlike the Jeffersons’ theme, I think it’s the south side of our house – I was never particularly good at orientation, and determining direction based on a compass: whatever direction I was facing, I always felt likeContinue reading “Moving On Up”

We’ll All Be Skeletons

Dearest Rachel – Today was too cool to walk around in thin white cotton, so I decided to wear one of my black shirts. Not sure why I picked this one: I’m actually thinking this might be the first time I’ve worn it in public. I know you thought we might all wear it togetherContinue reading “We’ll All Be Skeletons”

A Game We’ll Never Play

Dearest Rachel – It’s true that, thanks to the likes of Amazon and online shopping, you can come home nearly every day to find a package on your doorstep. After all, I just found the box with Chompers’ wheelchair on the front porch just this past Tuesday. However, that was the last order I’d placedContinue reading “A Game We’ll Never Play”

These Can’t Be Keepsakes…?

Dearest Rachel – So yesterday, Jan was over, and we continued cleaning out your side of the bedroom. Most of the books under the nightstand are being donated (the rule is, if I don’t see myself reading these books – and they don’t have any notes from you in them, so I don’t, for theContinue reading “These Can’t Be Keepsakes…?”

from Rachel: Sermon Notes

“Some of us live like we have no control over our time and our schedules.” Psalm 90 – “Written by Moses – prince – shepherd – spokesperson/prophet – leader of people” Our time is “limited”, therefore we need to “limit” what we do with our time “‘From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’ (90:26)” “‘TeachContinue reading “from Rachel: Sermon Notes”

Running Out of Footage

Dearest Rachel – Well, I knew it had to happen someday. After all, we only had the camcorder with us for a limited amount of time before it disappeared somewhere amongst the piles – to say nothing of the fact that digital mini-tapes turned out not to be the wave of the future as farContinue reading “Running Out of Footage”

No One to Reminisce With

Dear Rachel – I don’t know if you’re aware of it – I realize that there are a lot of people to meet and greet up there in heaven, and a hundred days is probably not enough to even familiarize yourself with the smallest portion of your new-found eternal family members – but my AuntContinue reading “No One to Reminisce With”

The Legend of Bryan Hamilton

Dearest Rachel – You already know the bulk of this story, but Jan and I have just written what basically amounts to the final chapter of this story, and I figure I might as well fill you in on it while I tell the full story to anyone else who might be interested. The tooContinue reading “The Legend of Bryan Hamilton”

Jan Would Like A Word

Dearest Rachel – I think I may have mentioned it to you previously, but today’s work on the laundry room – and your closet – have reminded me to remind you that you may need to prepare yourself for when Jan gets up to see you someday. It seems she would like to talk toContinue reading “Jan Would Like A Word”

Empathy… Suitcase?

Dearest Rachel – The “Empathy Doll Shot” is a trope whose name might be unfamiliar, but when you see it, you know what it’s all about. That item left behind that you, the viewer, would recognize as ‘that thing is supposed to have an owner,’ followed by the realization as to why there is noContinue reading “Empathy… Suitcase?”

Ghost in the Machine

Dearest Rachel – Jan can be a real hoot sometimes (and in so doing, she manages to take the most bitter edge off of everything we’ve been finding as we go through the house). Her happy dance when she finds hidden money – and there’s been a lot of it scattered throughout the place; you’veContinue reading “Ghost in the Machine”

The Things We Find

Dearest Rachel – Another day of cleaning the house today, honey Thought we might curve around the wall and dig out the television pedestal (and stash a pile of VHS tapes and DVDs in the process), but it seems Jan would rather we excavate the dining room table instead. Actually, that probably makes more sense.Continue reading “The Things We Find”

Faded Glow

Dearest Rachel – Some nights, getting Chompers to bed isn’t so difficult. Give him his pill, take him out, he pees, bring him in, set him down, give him his bedtime treats, and let him position himself (I am starting to learn that, regardless of what he’s truly capable of, he’d prefer to at leastContinue reading “Faded Glow”

What is “All Right” Anymore?

Dear Rachel – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it to you before in these letters, but mornings are just awful sometimes. Even when everything goes right. Chompers slept through the night – even letting me take a shower without waking up and whining, or worse, barking – and got everything out of his systemContinue reading “What is “All Right” Anymore?”

Dumpster Dive

Dearest Rachel – There are times while she’s working that Jan encourages me to get out of the house. Now, sometimes it’s just the fact that I have appointments to keep, and she’s giving me an “I got this” type of reassurance. Other times, she senses I have work to do at the ‘office,’ andContinue reading “Dumpster Dive”

A Place in the Sun(room)

Dearest Rachel – As Jan and I move from room to room in our cleaning efforts, we’re starting to get into places where the trash is tangled up with the treasures. Notes and nothings mingle together, and aside from the sanctum sanctorum that is our bedroom, nowhere is more complicated in this respect than theContinue reading “A Place in the Sun(room)”

Kevin and the Prize

Dearest Rachel – I haven’t written to you about Sparks since you left, and I suppose I ought to fill you in. Although, we’ve only met the one other time before tonight, so there hasn’t been much to fill you in about. In fact, the first Monday after the accident had been canceled – notContinue reading “Kevin and the Prize”