Dear Jack: Our Friday Off Together

9 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday went perfectly! I took the day off to spend with you during your Fall Break.

We spent the morning going on a long hike that led us to a cool creek where you got to play in the mud and clay- then I took you out for donuts.

It was definitely a nice change of place.

Then on Saturday morning, you and I went apple picking in the light rain.

Even though you’re now a month away from turning 10, you still reached out to hold my hand during our hike on Friday. That means a lot to me.



Dear Holly: Nostalgic for the Present

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

I feel like I have traveled back in time from the present, to better appreciate “the good ole days” right now with our family.

Especially being able to work from home since this past March, I have been blessed with much more quality time with you.

I appreciate our family’s life together so much now, in a way I never could before, that it’s like I am nostalgic for the present, before it even becomes the past.

Maybe I am seeing life in a new perspective now that I’ve only got 6 months left of my 30s.

I cherish my life with you. I’m not letting it slip by.





Dear Jack: Helping Your Sister on Papa’s New Zipline Chair Ride

9 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

This past weekend was Papa’s grand opening and big reveal of the commercial quality playground that he has been working on for the past couple of years.

Saturday morning, Papa used you as the final test subject for his invention “the zipline chair”, before he let any other kids try it out.

After the zipline chair proved to be a success with you, by default you became other kids’ guide in getting them set up and launching them down the hill.

It’s especially hilarious to me how much fun your little 4 year-old sister had on that thing. Not scary at all to her!




Dear Holly: Three 4 Year-Old Girls on a Playground!

4 years, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

Saturday morning you got to spend the whole day playing on Papa’s new playground with not only your cousin Darla, but also a new friend named Emery who came to the grand opening.

It just so happened that are three of you are 4 years-old! In fact, you and Emery were born just about 9 days part.

Watching you all run along from one end of the playground to the next was like seeing triple!

I don’t recall hearing my words spoken from the three of you… just a constant stream of giggles.

I’m really starting to believe that 4 year-old girls are universally the same:

Sweet, playful, and adventurous!




When You Reconnect with a High School Friend and It’s Like Picking Up Right Where You Left Off

I have no memory of actually meeting William Coulter. He transferred in from Colorado our junior year of high school and it seems we just immediately and effortlessly became friends.

We never even had a class together. But we ended up hanging out together a lot, as teenagers in a small mountain town in Alabama.

I think it started when we went to go see Adam Sandler’s new movie at the time, Big Daddy.

Then William came to some church youth function where the manager of Hardee’s donated hundreds of burgers to feed everyone. Yet still after the event ended, there were dozens of hamburgers left- and because I personally knew the manager, she gave me all the left overs to take home.

So I took two garbage bags full of unwrapped hamburgers to my house that night. William and I decided to make our challenge to eat a minimum of 24 burgers throughout the hours of the night.

We failed. But we ate more for breakfast that next morning.

There was also the time, on a very short notice and a whim, that we went on a road trip to Pensacola, Florida our senior year. Our high school had allotted us a few days to go look at colleges and we hadn’t used them up yet. So we hopped on a van and visited a very conservative college that we had no intentions on attending. (See the picture where he and I were buried in the sand from 1999.)

And thinking back on our adventures driving my parents’ Ford Aerostar minivan, equipped with paintball guns, out on back roads at night, it easily reminds me of the Alan Jackson song, “We got a little crazy but we never got caught…”

Now, we are both married and have two kids who are nearly the same ages. Another coincidence is that his wife’s name is Holly, while my wife and I named our daughter Holly. And our son’s middle name is William.

Last weekend, my dad officially unveiled his new playground, which he has been building for years now. After remembering that William and his family only live a little more than an hour away from my parents’ house, I invited his family over.

My sister’s family was there too; whose children are also in the same age range; a total of three 4 year-olds, two 9 year olds, and one 11 year-old. Our families ended up all being a perfect match, as expected.

William is one of those close friends where we always pick up right where we left off. We get older, along with our hilarious shared memories from high school.

But we relate to each other just as easily now in 2020, as we did in the late 1990s.