Dan and What Would You Do? (#1 in a series)

When Bev told me, my first thought was I don’t know if I would have thought as quickly as she did.  Thanks to Bev’s quick thinking, lives were saved, and help was rendered.  Let me explain.

Our grandson Owen’s sixth birthday party is about to begin this last Saturday in July.  Already at the party at our daughter Molly’s and hubby Tip’s home, Hannah and I play board games with Owen and his younger brother Max (4) while we wait for the others.

Owen’s grandparents on Tip’s side, Ya Ya and Poppy, are driving down to the party from New Hampshire with Tip’s sister, the aforementioned Bev, her hubby Matt, and their two boys.

Bev family picture

Bev in green in the back row; Ya Ya in white in the front row.

When they arrive, I greet Bev with a hug.  As we check in, I see Bev looks shaken.  She begins telling the story of the out-of-control car chase that they had just endured minutes ago.

For whatever reason, a car, at 1030 in the morning mind you, was weaving across the road recklessly in front of them (i.e. crossing into the opposite lane of oncoming traffic and back again).  Immediately, Bev as the driver started blasting her horn to alert others in the path of this car with “tragedy ahead” emblazoned on its front bumper.

Next Ya Ya dialed 911 from her cell phone to notify the police, relaying landmarks and street names as Bev continued to follow the incapacitated driver.

Fortunately, the incessant cacophony from the horn alerted a young woman on a bicycle soon enough for her to dive into the roadside woods.  Easily, the driver could have killed her.

After a mile of erratic driving, the harrowing ride was over as the driver plowed into a large tree.  At this point, Bev pulled over and hurried to check on the driver to see a man, maybe in his 50s, bleeding badly from his head.  Almost immediately five patrol cars from the area were on the scene.  A bad mix of medication?  Alcohol?  Drugs?  We never learned.

So, I ask you,

What would you have done if you had seen a car weaving back and forth in front of you across the suburban road?  Would you have thought quickly enough to follow?  I have no idea what I would do; Bev had three seconds to decide or the driver could be gone.

Would you have thought to lay on the horn to warn others?  I definitely wouldn’t have; but thanks to Bev’s example, I would now.  Later, at the scene of the crash the bicyclist thanked Bev for saving her life.  No hyperbole there!

Would you have had another passenger call 911?  My answer is probably yes, but who knows in the heat of the moment.

And once the driver crashed, would you have gone to his side immediately?  I hope I would’ve.  I think I would’ve.  I guess none of us knows.  Only Bev has the evidence what she would have done.

Bev Owen with cake

All in a morning’s work, Bev saved the bicyclist’s life, her mom alerted the authorities to a life-threatening situation, and then we all celebrated a six year old’s birthday.

Dan and an Idea for your Consideration

These are crazy times.  There is an election in the fall that needs everyone’s attention.

So the preamble to my idea for you begins out West.

Neb peace on earth 2

When Hannah and I travel cross country, we look for Unity services for our spiritual good health and well-being.  At the end of every service, be it in Salem, OR, Santa Barbara, CA, or Las Vegas, NV, the service ends with the Peace song.  Let there be peace on each, and let it begin with me.

Just a little reminder that it is up to each of us to do what we say we want done.

Now for my brief thesis that comes from the Heartland, America’s Bread Basket.

Neb map

We have a dear friend from Virginia, Amelia.  Amelia has a childhood friend, Rita, who is the mayor of a good size city in Nebraska; and Rita has an idea to inspire us all that goes beyond anger and frustration on Facebook or Instagram or tweeting our deepest held beliefs on Twitter.  It comes from her solution-oriented approach to governance.

She uses Friday mornings to meet with her constituents and address their concerns.    They must come with the answers to three questions for their fifteen minute meeting with her.  (1) What is your concern/problem?  (2) What is a possible solution? and (3) (And now for the big finish!)  What will you do to be a part of the solution?

As the elections of 2018 approach, we all need to stop the hand-wringing and be a part of the solution, not standing on the sidelines casting the other side as the devil.  Perhaps, it’s time to complete the journey prayer began.  It’s time to act.

Dan and Hannah and Their Molly and Robyn

This is a short and sweet posting about our daughters, Molly (38) and Robyn (36).

Zoo 6 M and R

Molly and Robyn

They live 300 miles apart, Molly with her family in Massachusetts and Robyn in upstate New York.

Recently I was reminded of what a great job Molly does to include Robyn in the lives of her sons, Owen and Max.

Zoo 1 rawdins and robyn

Tip, Owen, Max, Molly, and Robyn

When Molly’s family travels to New York, they regularly meet up with Robyn.  In this latest visit, Robyn planned an outing at the Syracuse Zoo, which delighted the Bay Staters no end.  Here are some of the pictures showing the joy that Robyn brings to the lives of her young nephews, Owen (just about 6) and Max (4).  She’s an aunt you’d be proud to call your own.  Molly is a sister who makes a difference.

Zoo 8 close up of O and M


Zoo 4 R with O and M on elephant

Robyn, Max, and Owen at the Syracuse Zoo

Zoo 2 O and M with T



Then just two weeks ago, Molly blew me away.  I mean, touched me to my core.  I had no idea she had emailed some thirty of her family and friends to donate to my Jimmy Fund Walk in September.  Thank you, Molly!

Sox M and T in JF square
Happy Summer! 
This September, my dad is walking 10K of the Boston Marathon route as he raises money for The Jimmy Fund to raise money for cancer research and the care of cancer patients.
As you may know, my sister Robyn had leukemia when she was 4 years old – we are grateful that today she is healthy and doing fabulously.  So this cause is near and dear to our hearts. 
Below is a recent email that my dad shared about his fundraising efforts — and a bunch of pictures from a Jimmy Fund event (where my dad gave Tip and me his tickets to a Boston Red Sox game). https://over60hiker.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/dan-and-jimmy-thank-my-donors-update/
If the time is right for you to donate, I know my dad would appreciate it – whatever you can give will help–it all adds up! 
Wishing you a wonderful, healthy, joyful summer! 



Dan and His Dad’s Legacy

This mid-July afternoon reminded of another way my dad made his mark on my life.

Long ago, he taught me how to play tennis.  As a kid, I had a bet with him that I could beat him before I turned 16.  As a 15 year old I was better than he was, but I never could beat him.  When I turned 16 (and he was 47), I finally did win and never lost again.  But I left the five dollars on the table as a 15 year old.

blood cribbage board

A board to similar one my dad made out of the wood of a cherry tree

He taught me how to play cribbage as a kid.  Over the last ten years of his life (He lived til 94.), cribbage was the game that we played every time I visited my mom and dad’s place in New Jersey.  In his tenth decade, he was still teaching me the finer points of the game when we went mano y mano.

Today, Hannah and  I gave a pint of our finest blood down the road at the Lions Club in Kittery, Maine.  She for the 102nd  time and me for a respectable 63rd time.  Dad always gave blood.  He never told me that I should give blood, he just did, and I noticed.

blood american red cross

Giving pint of red liquid gold was especially joyful today because of the team of phlebotomists from the American Red Cross in Portland, Maine who tended to us.

These young folks, led by a woman named Tony, worked together as a team who loved their jobs and showed it.  Engaging, personal, and professional, Asa took my history and got the blood flowing.  Seamlessly, a young woman named Hannah came over and completed the blood collection process and put a band-aid on my arm.  Smiling and friendly, together, they all just lifted my spirits and added to the beauty of this summer afternoon on the coast of Maine.

blood blood itself

By the way, I asked the young Hannah if she liked her name growing up.  She said that she didn’t like being called Hannah Banana as a kid; but now [as an adult] she likes the nickname.  The Hannah you know and love from Chases Pond Road is the Hannah Banana in my life.

You never know what your kids will pick up from you.  Thanks, Dad.

Dan and Hannah Personally Welcome Brooks to the Family

Brooks Ithaca - more sleeping

It’s Brooks Archer Rothermel Time!  Last weekend, Hannah and I drove nearly 400 miles to Ithaca, New York to meet and greet our new grandson for the first time.  FaceTime has been a valuable introduction to the little guy while we were home in Maine, but we are looking forward to some personal face time with our grandson.  (You see what I did!)

On our first afternoon, Brooks basically slept, peeped a little to be fed, opened his eyes to look at Hannah and me with a WTF sweet look of contentment, and slept some more.

Brooks Ithaca with Omi

I have ten thoughts after time with Brooks and his world-is-going-to-be-rocked (in a good way) parents Will and Laurel.

From now on, their lives are no longer on East Coast time, but on Brooks Time.  Things will take longer, the unexpected will become expected, and if they are late, they have one really beautiful reason why.

Brooks Ithaca - kicking back

Brooks lies on a pillow turned pink under the red patio umbrella in his back patio.

Though Brooks has slept reasonably well for his first three weeks, it’s often in two to four hour periods.  He’s a baby.  That’s what they do.  That said, there still lie a lot of up-in-the-night nights for Will and Laurel.  If our experience is any indication, Will and Laurel will be more tired than they have ever been in 2018.

Ever since June 24, 2018, Will and Laurel smile a lot, really beam.

Brooks Ithaca mouth agape

They’ll be reading very little John Grisham.  These are some of the titles on their coffee table – , The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary (a personal favorite of mine), Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!: How to Get Both of You Through the Next 9 Months by John Pfeiffer, and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp.

I don’t think it odd that Hannah and my youngest child, Will, is a parent.  It’s time.  Will is ready, willing, and able for the joy and for the challenge.  His gentle, loving, caring nature is made for this opportunity.  Brooks will be learning from a master how to mow the lawn and hit a 280 yard drive.  On the other hand, Hannah and I will teach him how to dink and hit the third shot in pickleball.

Brooks Ithaca black and white

Parenting for the first time is tough enough; and then they will be asked to  learn on the fly and do it while they are as tired as they have ever been.

During the first two weeks of Brooks life, Will and Laurel were so pleased to get three hours of sleep at a time.  Sleepless nights will come, this is when the strength of their marriage will be evident.  From Maine, the marriage looks good and strong!

Brooks Ithaca family rothermel

This is a note for all grandfathers – change diapers.  Pop, you are a big boy.  You can do it!  It would be easy for me to let Hannah jump up to change Brooks’s poopy diapers.  But if I do, I miss out on this opportunity to really help out and connect with Brooks.  Let me report, I got down and dirty at changing time on multiple occasions.

Brooks Ithaca - checking the scene

I felt over-the-moon happy when Laurel handed me a fussy Brooks after she fed him.  Seated at a stool at their kitchen island, I successfully helped the little guy mellow out as I rocked him and let him suck on his binky (i.e., pacifier).  He fell asleep for an hour.  Is this how rockstars feel?

Will and Laurel are getting a crash course in the value of a well-timed nap (which is anytime Brooks is asleep!).

Brooks Ithaca smiling

Hannah and I know how fortunate we are to have healthy grandson with these two parents in our lives.  They don’t live in Arizona or California or even Virginia.  They are just six hours away.  As retired folks, Hannah and I can be an active part in Brooks’ life.

They’ll do fine, some bumps, some jolts, lots of joy.  Hannah and I are so pleased to be along for the ride.

Brooks Ithaca parents, grandparents and brooks

Brooks at 15 days old

Brooks day 17 A

Dreams of capturing the big one!

Brooks day 17 B

Brooks day 17 C

Brooks with his binky

Brooks at 19

Brooks at 19


Brooks on Will's chest

Our son Will with their son Brooks

Dan Learns about the Bar in Bar Harbor at Acadia National Park

Acadia map of BH

Bar Harbor, home of Acadia National Park

This is a two parter.  First is for those looking for light hiking in the town.  Second is a recommendation where to stay in Bar Harbor.

Located in Downeast Maine, Bar Harbor is pronounced “Bah Hahbah” by Mainers and playfully by those from “away.”  “Downeast” often refers to the eastern coast of Maine.  The phrase derives from sailing terminology: sailors from western ports sailed downwind to the east to reach this area.

Bar 4A B and D summit better

Dan with his Canadian buddy, Bill Buggie

With my UNH college friend, Bill Buggie, I have come to discover the bar in Bar Harbor.  On previous hiking and biking trips to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, we have heard the story that at low tide the sand bar magically appears so walkers, even cars, can cross to Bar Island itself.

Bar 4C Bar Harbor from BI summit

The view of Bar Harbor from Bar Island

Coming during the first week of May, Bill and I have the town to ourselves.  Last night we immediately got a table at Geddy’s in the heart of the downtown at the prime dining hour of 7P.  Parking last night, and now this next Monday morning, is plentiful as we prepare to walk the land bridge to Bar Island at low tide.

Bar 1AB high tide 2

From Bar Harbor to Bar Island at high tide

Having checked the tide charts for Bar Harbor weeks before, we know that this Monday morning at 11A is the lowest of low tides.  The park service advertises that there is a three hour window to hike to the island and be back before the salt waters of high tide rule the day.  Descending Bridge Street, we have a land bridge from the harbor to Bar Island.  Hence, the street name.


Bar 1A D at land bridge

In fact, the sandbar to Bar Island is mostly a gravel bar and could easily support a four-wheel vehicle.  As Bill and I arrive at 930A, we see people already walking to the island.  Hoping we’d see the tide receding slowly to expose the land bridge, something out of Charlton Heston crossing the Red Sea in the Ten Commandments, I am mildly disappointed that the sand/gravel trail is already over 100’ wide, and obviously easy to cross.

Bar 1B wide land bridge

Monday morning at 930A, low tide

Stepping first among the small stones of the gravel bar, we soon close in on the island over large smooth stones with an obvious trail before us.  The trail through the forest and meadows is well-marked and ten to twenty other walkers make it clear the way to go.  Once on Bar Island, hiking to the modest summit takes us a leisurely fifteen minutes.  Looking back to Bar Harbor itself, we know we have found a family hike that kids under ten can easily do.

Bar 2 sign 2

Bar 2A submerged cars

Bar 3 trail begins

Bar 3A trail to summit


Bar map of shore path with BI

The Shore Path in red (the dotted line is the land bridge to Bar Island)

With only an hour of hiking/walking under our belts, we head to the Shore Path that goes from the downtown park at the Bar Harbor Inn, and then along the harbor waterfront past high priced condos and estates of old money.  It’s a delightful level walk of less than a mile with islands dotting the harbor for our viewing pleasure.

Bar 5 B and D on shore path

Bill and Dan on Bar Harbor’s Shore Path











Bonus section is for folks wondering about a recommendation where to stay in Bar Harbor.

Ever wonder where to stay in Bar Harbor when some hotel rooms in season go for north of $400 to $500?  Wonder no more.

First, let’s back up.  Consider traveling to Bar Harbor in May.  Tourist season that once went from Memorial Day to Labor Day now stretches into September and October.  Come November, the dark of 415P sunsets makes this the fishing village that the locals love.

bar acadia park inn sign

On this first Sunday night of May, Bill and I each have a room at the Best Western Acadia Park Inn for $99 a night; in August the same room is $209, in September $189, and after Columbus Day weekend in October $135.

Let me take you back to our daybreak feast.

It’s Monday morning, I slip into the large dining area at 630A to be greeted by Jill, a downhome down easterner of perpetual joy.  Toasting an English muffin and pouring myself a full 12 ounces of dynamite decaf, I return to my room to luxuriate with Sports Center.  Once done, I’m not done!  I return for a second cup with a banana nut muffin that I warm to mouth-watering perfection in the in-room microwave.  And that’s just the beginning.

Bar API breakfast room

At 8A when Bill and I have arranged to meet for breakfast, I take breakfast to the next level.  Ladling out primo Quaker oatmeal from an 18″ coffee urn size container, I then sprinkle on raisins and walnuts.  The oatmeal is so tantalizing that I forego the eggs and sausage to have another bowl of oatmeal for our morning of hiking.

This oatmellian delight compares favorably with the oatmeal that Hannah and I have every morning when we are home.  As if things couldn’t get any better, I top off breakfast with hash brown mini-patties, be they doused with salsa (a personal favorite) or delectably savored alone.  You can’t go wrong with the Acadia Park Inn.

Dan and Jimmy Thank My Donors – Update

Sox fenway park

The green monster at Fenway Park

Dear Dan’s Donors to the Jimmy Fund,

Thanks to your generous contributions to the Jimmy Fund to support cancer research and the care of cancer patients, I was one of the first 100 who raised $1500.  Consequently, the Jimmy Fund rewarded me with two tickets to a pre-game dinner at Fenway Park and to the June 28, 2018 Red Sox v Angels baseball game that evening.

The Jimmy Fund provided me with a win/win opportunity.  Win one – I gave Molly and Tip the tickets to go to the dinner and Red Sox game so they had a night out.  Win two – Hannah and I got to babysit our grandsons, Owen and Max, for the afternoon and overnight while Molly and Tip were on their date.

I present pictures with captions of these good times thanks to your generosity.

Sox M and T before they left

Tip and Molly decked in their Jimmy Fund gear before they head to the game.

Sox M and O on bikes

Once their parents headed south for the game, Owen (left) and Max (right) roar up and down the street in front of their house.

Sox O and M on slalom

With their Omi in the background, Owen in fluorescent green and Max in orange race up and down their cul-de-sac on a slalom course their Omi set up; something out of the 1950s

Sox M and T in JF square

Molly and Tip at the dinner as one of 100 guests of honor

Sox taco thursday

While at home, Owen and Max enjoy Taco Thursday (carrots with humus in the foreground)

Sox M and T at game

Molly and Tip take in the game where the Red Sox beat the Angels 4-2

Sox Brooks

All the while our four day old grandson, Brooks Archer Rothermel, son of our son Will and his wife Laurel, rests peacefully in central New York

Love and peace,

Omi and Poppa

PS To date I have raised $4621 towards my goal of $5000.  I literally could not have done it without you.  Muchas gracias.