Broken In

Dearest Rachel – I can’t seem to find a letter to you that tells you when I bought these running shoes, so you’ll have to take it on faith that I did, probably late in April or early in May. Scott and I went to that Runners’ High shop just outside the ‘alfresco’ section ofContinue reading “Broken In”

Trying to Think at Three a.m.

Dearest Rachel – There are some questions in my life that I can no longer give a straight answer to. “How are you doing?” Well, do you just wanna exchange pleasantries, or would you like an actual answer? “Can I help you?” Wow, do you really mean that? “Do you always respond to a questionContinue reading “Trying to Think at Three a.m.”

Resisting Resuming Responsibilities

Dearest Rachel – So I open my eyes this morning, and look at the alarm clock: it’s a quarter to seven. And I have to admit, I do not want to get up just yet. I won’t go so far as to say it’s been a grueling weekend, but I’ll allow that it wasn’t exactlyContinue reading “Resisting Resuming Responsibilities”

Into Thin Air

Dearest Rachel – I think I must be way too used to living near the largest city in flyover country. As is the plane started its descent, I was looking out the window and seeing nothing but farmland and other empty space. And I couldn’t help wondering, “Where is the city? Where are the suburbs,Continue reading “Into Thin Air”

Overpacked

Dearest Rachel – Yes, I know it’s only for four days – including today. But I really have no idea what I’ll need out there In Colorado, so… I’m packing a little bit of everything. Two T-shirts, two long sleeve T-shirts, two rugby shirts, two sweatshirts… and this is just for the remaining three days,Continue reading “Overpacked”

Sending Smiles

Dearest Rachel – Well, it’s been done. I’ve created a profile, with Jan’s input and assistance, and it’s out there online for people to see. I don’t know how accurate it is, or whether I’ve shown too much or too little of my hand, but well… that’s how it is. What’s also ‘how it is’Continue reading “Sending Smiles”

No Such Thing as Forever

Dearest Rachel – Today is the first time all week I’m walking. And to tell the truth, I feel a little guilty about having delayed it this long. Not that I’m particularly concerned about how much exercise I get (although I’m quite sure I should be), but that I might be disappointing someone. You see,Continue reading “No Such Thing as Forever”

Wondering if the Chains Will Hold

Dearest Rachel – When I was a little kid, I really wasn’t much for roller coasters. The idea of being spun around and inverted at those dizzying speeds, suspended at heights that, were I to fall from, would undoubtedly kill me (and that was merely the drop itself; never mind the metal mechanisms and trackContinue reading “Wondering if the Chains Will Hold”

Seeing Other People

Dearest Rachel – It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it now, seeing as to how for so many years the two of us would appear in public practically joined at the hip. But in those early days of our relationship, we had, shall we say, “spaces in our togetherness.” In a way,Continue reading “Seeing Other People”

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”

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”

Checking In and Checking Out

Dearest Rachel – It’s about 8 o’clock when I get here. The road leading up to the hotel is much more built-up; several new restaurants – and an arena, of all things! – line the area. It seems, too, that my idea of being here on Thursday isn’t unique to me. The parking lot –Continue reading “Checking In and Checking Out”

Preparing to Leave the House

Dearest Rachel – I never really considered just how involved this process was of putting ourselves together for a convention weekend. All I ever did was to pack the computers and hard drives and my own set of clothes and toiletries, and call it good. There’s so much else that has to be taken careContinue reading “Preparing to Leave the House”

Tetris Skillz

Dearest Rachel – “Use your Tetris skills!” Jeff says. You have no idea how much I miss you right now. There must be about a dozen of us here, guys coming straight from the Saturday morning Bible study, to help a couple move out. All this stuff is going into storage, at least for theContinue reading “Tetris Skillz”

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”

Detailed Plans

Dearest Rachel – Look, you’re going to have to put up with puns on the word ‘Detail’ for most of these entries going forward. It’s the name of the kitchen & bath design showroom, after all, and while this has nothing to do with being a dad, there’s still a lot of dad jokes toContinue reading “Detailed Plans”

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”

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”

By A Different Name

Dearest Rachel – Well, color me shocked. I had been informed months ago by the highest authority (which is to say, the local newspaper) that our village wouldn’t be holding Frontier Days over the July 4th holiday. So, when I saw the installation at Melas Park the other day, I naturally assumed that the nextContinue reading “By A Different Name”

A Fondness for Funfairs

Dearest Rachel – Pulling into Melas Park, where I usually meet Erin to walk together on Tuesdays, I noticed that the parking lot we both usually use is unavailable. Turns out, while my village and Erin’s city have both canceled their annual Independence Day festivals, the town located between the two (which is why weContinue reading “A Fondness for Funfairs”

Promises Made

Dearest Rachel – This is more Daniel’s story than mine, but I seriously doubt that he’s ever going to write anything down anywhere about this. Besides, I need to commend him for sticking to this, and let you know about what he had agreed to do, and that he’s stuck to his promises. Over theContinue reading “Promises Made”

Belt Tightening

Dearest Rachel – It’s not something I really feel like checking very often. Mostly because, like most people, I’m not sure I’d like what I find out. But I know where I was barely 6 months ago, and I know things have improved since then. So the question is, by how much? So, for theContinue reading “Belt Tightening”

Measuring For The Makeover

Dearest Rachel – I haven’t forgotten that this is the five-month anniversary since your departure. It is going to be a long time (if ever, let’s face it) before I forget about the significance of the twenty-third of the month. What’s interesting about it, is how often I have something going on – and moreContinue reading “Measuring For The Makeover”

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”

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”

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”

Once More, With Feeling

Dearest Rachel – “This had better be some roller coaster.” Yeah, the line was that much longer today than the first time. I’m not sure why. To be honest, I thought I’d heard that doses were starting to go begging at this point. Although, to be fair, it has been quite the roller coaster, thisContinue reading “Once More, With Feeling”

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”

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”

Balancing Axioms

Dearest Rachel – For all of the places we’ve gone, and the things that we’ve done, we were always limited in what we could and could not do. Indeed, it’s considered axiomatic that we humans, as we go through life, always find ourselves limited against what we truly want to do: When we are children,Continue reading “Balancing Axioms”

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”

Rainy Days and Thursdays

Dearest Rachel – I don’t usually write about the weather – compared to all the other things going on in life, it’s a fairly insignificant part of it. Well, maybe insignificant isn’t the right word for it – it’s just there. Some days it’s cold, some days it’s bright and sunny… …and some days it’sContinue reading “Rainy Days and Thursdays”

The Return

Dearest Rachel – So, this morning, I’ll be heading up to Camp Awana to discuss the budget. Scott, Brian and I have been planning to do this for the last two weeks: each time, there’s been a health issue that’s gotten in the way. Given the tenor of the times, I probably don’t have toContinue reading “The Return”

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”

A Question of Motivation

Dearest Rachel – You’ll probably remember, shortly after first setting up the office in the folks’ basement, I started to wonder why it was I was trying to get onto YouTube as an animator… especially when, as I came to discover, I had next to no talent in either art or animation. Did I evenContinue reading “A Question of Motivation”

More Than I Can Chew

Dearest Rachel – I think I may have lost my mind. You see, it’s that time of year at church, when various groups come and pitch their programs to us, asking for our support, either financially or in terms of participation. Last week, it was Compassion International, which they’re marketing as something for the wholeContinue reading “More Than I Can Chew”

Is This What Normal Looks Like Now?

Dearest Rachel – Saturday mornings, like everything else, are never going to be the same as they were. That sounds like i’m stating the obvious, but Saturday is when it’s all that much more keenly felt. Even after retiring, I would spend weekdays at the ‘office’ at my folks’ place, so there were plenty ofContinue reading “Is This What Normal Looks Like Now?”

Halfway Through the Woods

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes people leave youHalfway through the wood.Others may deceive you.You decide what’s good.You decide alone.But no one is alone. “No One Is Alone” from Into The Woods The song sprang to my head early this morning, as I tried to figure out what Chompers wanted at what even I would consider toContinue reading “Halfway Through the Woods”

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”

I Understand the Cherry Tree

Dearest Rachel – Well, it’s another sign of spring these days, when the plant life starts to show off their blossoms and colors for the new season. It’s kind of ironic, that. While you looked forward to the idea of gardening once we bought ourselves a house (with your parents’ assistance: I remember well howContinue reading “I Understand the Cherry Tree”

Convention Season

Dearest Rachel – Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve booked a room at the Marriott Coralville for the AnimeIowa weekend. Without your help. All by myself. Yeah… all by myself. All… by… myself. I remember you watching the feed on Twitch last year when AnimeCentral did its virtual convention. You were sobbing as youContinue reading “Convention Season”