Dear Jack: Seeing Your Friend Sophie, After 5 and a Half Years

9 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

You first met Sophie when you were 8 months old and she was 7 months; back in 2011. We had just moved back to Nashville, and the two of you were in the same infant class at Kindercare.

Eventually Sophie moved away to Alabama (where we had just moved back from). Over the years, we have been able to meet up with Sophie a few times in passing.

However, I didn’t realize it had been 5 and a half years since we saw Sophie last! Back then, the two of you had just turned 4 years old.

That means that more time has passed since you saw each other, than how old you were when you last saw each other.

It’s funny how you have known each other your entire lives, but neither of you really remember each other; other than perhaps from 5 and a half years ago.

But this is the tradition now, at this point; that we will continually meet up with Sophie, in passing- and that will be the thing you two know each other from at this point!



Facebook Makes Close Friends of Acquaintances (and Acquaintances of People You Actually Know)

In 2017, the need to “catch up” with people has essentially become obsolete. We all mutually stalk each other on Facebook, on a daily basis, becoming instantly aware of each other’s highlight reels.

So really, what’s there to know about another person that’s not already on Facebook?

And even if it’s a bad thing going on in our lives, it’s almost a requirement; that you owe it to your Facebook friends to announce via prayer request or “send positive thoughts my way”, regarding what difficult time you are going through.

So not only do your close friends and family members already know everything going on in your life, but so does the guy who transferred to your school in junior high; who if you actually ran into him in person, you wouldn’t be able to remember his name… but you could probably tell him what movie he took his kids to see last weekend.

The level of intimacy that we used to have with the people we love the most has, by default, become cheapened to a fast-food version of the real thing; in which people we barely know can have the same concept of knowing us as our close friends and extended family.

It’s universal and it’s easy now. Scrolling Facebook doesn’t require much of us, yet it ironically can distract us from spending true quality time with the people we do love the most; with people we are physically in the same room with.

Perhaps the strangest irony is when people do gather together in person to visit each other, but then end up talking about what other people are doing and saying on Facebook… probably due in part to the fact everything else to talk about between them has already been said on Facebook.

It is as if our real lives and our online avatars have swapped places- and over time, we haven’t noticed. In fact, the abstract version of life has become more comfortable than normal life.

Isn’t it safe to say, that at least to some degree, the universal familiarity that Facebook provides for us also causes us to have to put forth more serious effort to maintain relationships with the people we are close with, but who we don’t actually see on a daily basis?

Don’t we all sort of miss actually talking to people and having something to say or something to ask?

I do. I miss the nostalgia.

Facebook is the modern day Tower of Babel and we continue to build it to the heavens,

with our “likes” and status updates.

Dear Holly: Our Father’s Day Weekend Visitors

8 weeks.

Dear Holly: Our Father’s Day Weekend Visitors

Dear Holly,

Mommy and I have been friends with John and Amelia Kennedy for as long as we’ve been married; nearly 8 years now. I will never forget how back in 2011, when our family moved back to Alabama for nearly a year, they visited us from Nashville. That meant the world to us.

A few months ago they had their first child, a son named Hudson. Our family visited him when he was first born. This past weekend they came to see you, as well as our “new” house. (And they were very kind to bring us vegan meals, as well!)

It was fun (and funny) to see you and Hudson interact with each other. While you have seen two other girl babies, your cousin Darla and your friend Hanna, I don’t suppose you’ve met a boy baby before.

It was inevitable that we as the parents would joke that you and Hudson will go to prom together in about 16 years: Holly Joy and Hudson James.

Nonna and Papa were also at our house for the weekend. It was their 39th wedding anniversary. I took Papa and your brother Jack to the Monster Jam event in downtown Nashville.

Dear Holly: Our Father’s Day Weekend Visitors

Papa was surprised how you were able to sleep through all of Jack’s noisy playing. At one point, Papa was using a Lego snake to try to bite Jack when we walked by. It was hilarious because Jack seemed genuinely afraid of the snake, even though he knew it wasn’t real. Through it all, you remained asleep while Nonna held you on the couch.

Dear Holly: Our Father’s Day Weekend Visitors

Once you woke up, Nonna entertained you by pretending to feed one of Jack’s stuffed animals your bottle. You were quite into.

Even though you won’t remember it, take it from me, you had a really fun weekend with family and friends.



Dear Holly: Our Father’s Day Weekend Visitors

Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

5 years.

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack: Your Possible New Part-Time Pet Named Whiskers (or Oliver?)

Last weekend while we were in Alabama visiting my side of the family for Thanksgiving weekend, Mommy and I went on our usual 2 mile morning walk that we always do when we go there.

As we were half way through our route, a little black kitty started following us; desperately meowing as if to say, “Won’t somebody take care of me? I’m so hungry. I don’t have anyone.”

I kneeled down and petted the cat, then we continued on our walk. It followed us briefly, but then couldn’t keep up.

Fifteen minutes later, as Mommy and I rounded back down that road, the little black kitty was waiting for us.

We didn’t slow down, as we assumed there was a good chance it actually lived on that road. But this time, the cat kept its speed; even though we were ignoring it the whole way back.

Once we arrived back at Nonna and Papa’s house, we soon realized the difficulty of even trying to feed the kitten; as your grandparents don’t have any meat; much less, cat food, in their house.

So Mommy suggested we beat an egg, and serve it in a bowl to the kitten. It worked.

It was obvious the cat was in great need of nutrition. Throughout the day, I cut some slices of cheese I found in the refrigerator and feed it to the kitty.

To everyone’s surprise, we woke up and the little black kitten was still there; asleep on the back porch where we had fed it the eggs and cheese.

After all, he apparently had nowhere else to be or to go.

For the record, we did attempt to feed the kitten some of our food, which is vegan and vegetarian, but the cat was uninterested; after all, felines are carnivores, not omnivores.

So Nonna had me run in to the local grocery store and buy some official cat food.

His name, according to you, is Whiskers.

However, Nana likes the name Oliver; and she, along with Papa, will be the ones actually taking care of him.

And yes, it is a him; as seen in my new web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Last night as we were watching the 3rd webisode, you announced, “Hey Daddy, look… I can see his nugget pouch!”

(Previously you had asked me how I knew he was a boy cat, so I explained that his “nugget pouch” under his tail was how I could tell.)

“Kitty,” as he is known on my show, apparently will be a by-default regular supporting cast member (like Gunther on Friends).

In addition to being part of the main plotline of the “Freddie the Fox” webisode, he also is undeniably present in the opening montage of my new show.

I never intended for him to be part of the show, but he just kept showing up during filming, so I wrote him into the script.

You and your cousin Calla definitely enjoyed having him around this past weekend. If he sticks around Nonna and Papa’s place, he just might end up being your part-time pet each time we visit there.



We are the Strange Neighbors Who Actually Use Our Garage to Park Both Our Cars In

We are the Strange Neighbors Who Actually Use Our Garage to Park Both Our Cars In

These days, when you live in a suburban bedroom community like we do, the norm is to see one, if not both, vehicles parked in the driveway… not the garage.

Yes, that sort of defeats the purpose- why have a 2 car garage if you don’t use it to park your 2 cars in?

The answer becomes evident the moment you drive by these houses when their garage doors happen to be up.

You will see unpacked boxes, kids’ riding toys, and lawn care equipment; among other random items. I often see garages simply turned in to man caves.

It has become the cultural norm in neighborhoods like mine to use a 2 car garage for storing junk, in addition to items normally found in a garage.

My theory is that this is not happening simply because people have too much junk; though I definitely believe that’s a big part of it, as middle class Americans.

I would have to think the main reason is because garages in cookie cutter neighborhoods like mine are smaller than the garages our parents’ houses had in the 1980s and 1990s, where living in a bedroom community wasn’t necessary, as so many of us grew up in small towns where there were still jobs; before everything moved to China.

A 2 car garage is a selling point when showing a home to a commuter family like mine. We don’t care how big the garage actually is, as long as we can 2 cars in there if we wanted to.

But by the time the family moves in the house, it becomes more practical for them to store their junk in the garage than it is to figure out how to carefully park both vehicles in there each day.

As for me, though, my wife is the equivalent to the lovable Jewish character on Friends, Monica Geller.

There is no such thing as “junk” in our house. If it ever existed, it got thrown out long ago.

Every weekend we clean our entire house. No junk gets left behind, trust me.

We are the Strange Neighbors Who Actually Use Our Garage to Park Both Our Cars In

Please note that on my own, I wouldn’t be this disciplined. But as part of a married couple, and as a family, we live a deliberate lifestyle in which park both cars in our garage every day.

By no means does that make us better than the majority; if anything, it makes us strange in the neighborhood.

Yesterday I drove home from work in the 2015 Lexus GX that our family will be reviewing this weekend.

As large as it is, I made it fit. I had to move the garbage can as well as my son’s wagon, but I made it work. Fortunately, the back door swings out, so I can still access the very back even with the garage door closed.

I just can’t bring myself to park a car in the driveway when I have a garage. Not to mention, I’m always paranoid someone will break into my car at night if I just leave it outside; despite the extremely low crime rate where I live- where the speed limit is 20, and there are cops proactively patrolling all the time. I even the lock the car doors after I’ve already shut the garage door.

But again, I’m the strange neighbor.