Tag Archives: North Carolina mountains

Events gone by … and a record for 728 words


One of the drawbacks to posting letters after the kids receive them (rest assured that receiving a letter is not the same as reading it in a timely fashion) is that certain events will have already fallen by the wayside. This letter is chock full of several such examples. But that’s the price to be paid for giving Ellen and Reid first dibs on the letters.

If you notice more typos than usual, that can be pegged to the headlong rush to write and get last week’s letter in the mail before a dead sprint to the airport. And a record it was: 728 words in seven minutes, start to finish. So much for proofing and editing for errors.


July 5, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Reid, since it’s your birthday we won’t get in to how your mom and I gave you the nickname ‘Razzmatazz’ but trust me, you earned it. It really just seems like yesterday that you guys were running around 104th street and wolfing down the raspberries in the garden. It really does. But since this will find you a few days after the fact, I hope you had a good one, kid. And I’ll see you the week after next. You didn’t tell me what you wanted for your b-day so perhaps we can change something down in Chicago.

Ellen, I’m plopped on the couch waiting for a ride to the airport from my friends Andrea and Kurt. I’d really like both of you to meet them at some point since they are truly great people. Plus, they have fun attitudes and good kids. This letter has to be written faster than usual since they will be at the doorstep in short order. They had me over for a family dinner last night with Andrea’s sister and her family, and her parents. It was an honor to be there. But what a hoot that family is. Oh man, they know how to have fun – and how to poke each other in the ribs.

Got the ticket to Barcelona, one way, for $624. I paid an extra $40 for trip insurance, although I don’t know why there would be a reason to scrub the trip other than for something catastrophic. To be honest about it, I approach Spain with some trepidation, in part because I’ll be by myself and it’s wholly new ground to me to make such an adventure. But the guidebook guy strongly recommends that people make the trip solo although he approaches it from a more spiritualistic bend than the reasons I’m making the trip. But that could be a majority of the fun; finding out what you’re made of and if you have the gumption to see the mysterious and unknown through to the very end. It’s a great thing that Jane and Dave will join me on the first three critical days from St. Jean to Pamplona. That will get me off and running. Or at least off and walking. I’m not sure how the end of the trip will unfold so there is no return flight booked as of yet from Portugal. It may be that by that point I’ll be emboldened enough to head north into France or even up to England for a continued adventure. We’ll see. Since I pick up Tom in Chicago, Reid, for our trip to the Bridger, it will give me time to talk through the entire Camino scenario.

Spent a couple of fun days in the mountains with my friend Lynn and a new buddy, Bruce. Both are very good golfers and Bruce and I spared no expense in giving Lynn the needle, although our attempts at humor wore off toward the last day.

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Golf in the North Carolina mountains means lush courses – and temperatures 10 – 15 degrees cooler than hot, steamy Charlotte.

But Lynn has an incredible mountain house with a natural stream running alongside – and beneath portions – of the A-frame. It was just so cool to stay in his place. It reminded me that I have totally, completely squandered the North Carolina mountains. It’s been a lost opportunity.

I played golf for eight straight days and that was enough to cure me for a good long while. It’s just mentally exhausting to keep your head on straight on the course. Minnesota, and Wyoming, will be good for me in that regard. In fact, I can’t wait.

Reid, Jody bought an Orvis fly rod package and man, has he got the bug. He really does. He is chomping at the bit to give fly casting a chance, and we went over to a small lagoon where we caught some equally small brim on tiny flies. It was good for him to get that experience of real fish under his belt. He has a cabin in Canada on a river ( I would botch the name if I tried to spell it) where they have big Atlantic salmon. Now that would be a fish to catch (and release).

Okay. This is a record for a letter. Seven minutes from start to finish. Off to the printer, and then it goes into the mail. See you both very, very, very soon.

Love, Dad

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There’s always Hilton Head, kiddo. There’s always Hilton Head …


This letter was literally old news not 36 hours after it was mailed, overtaken by mid-week events that turned my life maybe not upside down but at least sideways. Depending on one’s perspective on the specter of unfortunate news, it either dims the lights or turns the bulbs up bright.

I prefer the latter over the former. To be otherwise doesn’t really doesn’t do anyone much good. You either fall on your butt and stay down or stand on your two feet and move forward. I’ll take the latter over the former in that case, too.

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October 26, 2015

Ellen/Reid: At last the guest bath is done. Or at least 98% of it is done. The towel racks and other hooks are minor annoyances but the installation will be done soon enough. It should be all done within the next 24 hours. It’s somewhat amazing that it came together as quickly as it did; the contractor, Brian, is really good and I just fell between the cracks, in a good way, in his work schedule.

Sure, this may be a man's take on a guest bath but what the hell. It beats what was there.

Sure, this may be a man’s take on a guest bath but what the hell. It beats what was there.

The lighting gave me some concern since I wasn’t sure how big the hole in the drywall was behind the crappy old fixture. But the hole was small, and I could finagle a junction box in there so there wasn’t as much drywall work as anticipated. The wiring was cinchy. The tile worked out well and the coloration of things seems to these sad eyes to be relatively coordinated. Ellen, I’m not hep on what’s ‘in’ in terms of towels and bath mats and stuff like that so you’ll need to continue to guide me down that primrose lane. I’ll take a debut shower in it later tonight.

This was the outdated ugliness that should have been gutted years ago.

This was the outdated ugliness that should have been gutted years ago.

The downside is there is dust everywhere on everything in every room. Such are the wages of home renovation. I’ve yet to sit down to compute the total tab but the guessing is about $2,700.

Ellen, now I’ll turn the attention to the horrid first floor, brown-painted bathroom disaster. It won’t be much other than a touch up of paint and some new faucets and lighting fixtures so it shouldn’t be overly problematic. But I made grand pontifications, too, about the guest bath upstairs and we know how that turned out. Cha-ching.

Another teenager was killed this weekend in a speeding related accident a couple of blocks away from here. I drove by this morning and the crash site is literally directly across the road from another fatal teen wreck almost 10 years ago – that one was loud enough for me to hear Continue reading

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