Dan and Hannah Get the Marriage Question

DNH ithaca

My Ithaca shirt comes to Taughannock Falls in Ithaca, New York

During these Times of Corona, Hannah and I make it a point to avoid crowds.  Hey, we are 72 and reside in the danger zone, age-wise.  Fortunately, we live in Maine, a less populated place to live through a pandemic.

So, it can be no surprise that in the early evening of July 1, 2020, we come with subs and drinks to a distant part of the beach at York Harbor to celebrate our 48th anniversary.

As we sit looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, a mother and her college age daughter pass by.  Earlier when I had passed them on the beach, I had commented about their playing Bananagrams (a free flowing variation of Scrabble that I recommend), which brought a smile of recognition to their faces.

Now, 30 minutes later, the two women pass between us and the incoming tide.  I say to them, Hannah is celebrating her 48th wedding anniversary.  Never knowing what off-the-wall thing I might say to draw attention to myself, Hannah just smiles.

DNH montecito

On a mountainside in Montecito, CA

Mom smiles back and says, What’s your secret?  Hannah and I each have no quick answer but get out that we were just lucky.

After, I think that I want a better answer than that so I can articulate and reflect on the marriage Hannah and I have.

Meeting as first-year students at the College of Wooster, we dated off and on for five years.  In February of 1972, I proposed to her once I got my first real job as a fourth grade teacher at Holdemann Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona.  Married the following July as 24 year olds, we had much learn about being a couple.

So, what’s our secret?

DNH sc

Pickleball in South Carolina

One, we did get lucky as the stars aligned; for she as an upstate New Yorker and me as a Jersey boy happened to go to the same little liberal arts college in Nowhere, Ohio.  So, good fortune certainly got the ball rolling.

Two, we learned how much we enjoy an evening glass of wine together.

Three, we learned that we love being active together.  Be it hiking the canyons and mountains, walking the beach, biking country roads, or pickleballing.

Four, we don’t shop together.

Five, we are learning that we are not in competition with each other; we don’t need to be better than the other, be it in parenting, generosity, or service to others.  Hannah is Hannah, I am me.

DNH with m and o lime kiln

Omi and Poppa with Max (above) and Owen

Six, we are learning to assume the best about the other’s intentions, comments.

Seven, we learned to kiss each time one of us leaves the house.

Eight, I learned when someone compliments Hannah to me (say about her generosity or sweetness), I never joke or am sarcastic (by saying something like, if you only knew!) but respond with some variation of, You got it.  She’s the real thing.

Nine, Hannah cooks, I do the dishes.

Ten, I’m not sure what this means, but in conversation when Hannah is not around, I never refer to Molly, Robyn, and Will as my kids.  They are always our kids.  I sure as hell didn’t raise them on my own.

CR girls Omi and Poppa with Brooks and girls

Omi and Poppa with Brooks (center) and Reese and Charlotte

Eleven, we’ve learned to let the other one spew without offering advice.  Listening is what the spewer wants more than anything.

Twelve, we agree that we found gold living two winter months in Carpinteria, California.

Thirteen, I hang the laundry while Hannah is the problem solver around the house.

Fourteen, we learned that we both have a common interest in reaching out and making connections with many of the people we meet.  We are relentless.  If we were to have headstones, they would say, They tried.

Fifteen, we learned not to take our good marriage for granted.  We have learned to speak up when we are wondering what the other is thinking or has done.

Sixteen, we agreed that our family was a priority over our careers.  We valued experiences together over things.

This is no recipe for others, just what we do.  As you can see, there was a whole lot learning going on.

Maybe that is the secret.

Dan and Hannah and Their CSA

Our first bounty from the Orange Circle Farm has arrived!

CSA2 jeff and hannah

Masked Hannah with Farmer Jeff to the right at the Kittery, Maine pick-up location

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture

Hannah and I signed up for a weekly delivery of local vegetables after all hell broke loose in early March 2020 due to the coronavirus global pandemic.  Not knowing the ride the pandemic was to take us on, Hannah and I stepped up to support two local farmers by buying a full share for the 2020 growing season.

As a quasi-vegetarian anyway, I need more iron in my diet.  When I donate blood to the American Red Cross, routinely my hemoglobin number struggles to reach the required 13.0 g/dL*.  *(g/dL is grams per deciliter!! – as we all know a gram is 1/30 of an ounce).

With some leafy kale, my hemoglobin is rocket man!

Our first bin of veggies arrived the first week of June, 2020.  Check out our bounty.

CSA2 list of veggies

CSA2 mesclun

Mesclun (often for salad greens)

CSA2 bok choi

Bok Choy supports cancer prevention, promotes healthy digestion, and has insane levels of vitamin A and C

CSA2 spinach 2

Spinach supports healthy skin, hair, and strong bones

CSA2 kale

Kale, kale, kale, the gang’s all here.  My iron source of choice.

CSA2 scallions

Scallions (the same as green onions)

CSA2 dill

Dill (good for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (farting for the crude among you), and liver problems

CSA2 radishes

Radishes (another fine source of Vitamin C)

CSA2 lettuce

Lettuce alone (say those two words out loud and you’ll see how funny I can be)

Tempting?  Perhaps, a CSA bin of veggies is in your future?


Dan and His 2020 Stimulus Check – The Stories

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog asking for your help in finding a worthy home for my 2020 stimulus check.  Click here for that blog.  It turned out my goal to give away $500 wasn’t enough to meet all the needs.  We gave away nearly $700.

Here are their stories from the people that we have supported.

Stim2 superhero

We learned from Mary (married to my Arizona State roommate Rich) that friends of theirs had a niece born at under two pounds who lived just three months.  When these friends themselves became pregnant, they too had a preemie who was at great risk.  Their son survived; in gratitude, they support the Superhero Project, a non-profit that raises money to support NICU families and babies.  Click here to learn more about the Superhero Project.  Hannah and I are all in.

Stim2 brazil

Our friend Nancy from our Arizona days writes of her student from Brazil who wants to pursue a medical master’s degree.  The young man lives with his uncle’s family in the basement of another family’s house.  He is an only child and his mother (no father) is in Brazil.  He talks to her daily and worries about her health.  Hannah and I appreciate our chance to support this young man.

My colleague at Nevitt Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, Diane, first suggests supporting a cat shelter in Scottsdale, then how great it would be to have breakfast with an elderly friend from Chicago.  This all leads to what’s in her heart.  She’d like to reconnect with a long lost friend over breakfast whose life has been filled with challenges.  Hannah and I support Diane’s efforts.

Stim2 rwanda map

Despite the Southwest connection of the first three entries, Hannah and I have made a few friends since our Arizona days.  One of them is Rose, who worked with Hannah at the Visiting Nurses Association of Portsmouth, NH.  Hannah was the Hospice volunteer coordinator and Rose a nurse.  Rose writes of a wonderful, hardworking couple from Rwanda. The wife was taking English classes before Covid-19 hit, and her hubby worked at Bowdoin College in food service.  They have a beautiful baby boy.

KGUA icon

Our California amiga, Tree, says she will donate to her beloved, local radio station and non-profit, KGUA. KGUA stayed on the air 24/7 during the wildfires, public safety power shutdowns, and most recently, the COVID-19 health crisis. This year, due to the virus outbreak, their annual fundraiser event was cancelled so donations at this time would greatly help them to continue the outstanding work.  We, too, will support KGUA.

Our local friend Mandy nominates her niece who raises three kids, two of whom have special needs.  In addition, her niece works three jobs (nurse in the schools, at the local hospital, and a summer camp for special needs children).  This summer camp is not opening due to Covid-19.  She never complains or asks for support because she is too busy serving and caring for others.  We’ll step up.

Stim2 AFSP

Our neighbor Laurie asks us to support the virtual walk she will do with her daughter to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Due to Covid-19, they cannot walk sixteen miles overnight in Boston as they did last year.  Done.

Hannah’s friend from the College of Nursing at Arizona State, Patty, nominates a co-worker.  (By the way, Hannah was a student in the ASU nursing program for a semester plus, having aced the prerequisite Organic Chemistry to get in!)  Patty’s friend’s unemployment check hit a glitch, and glitches take a long time to fix due to the staggering #’s of people applying for unemployment.  Even though she and Patty were furloughed in March, her friend has yet to receive a check.  She has diabetes, with an expensive monitoring system.  Glad we can help.

Stim2 SAFER bags

Andy’s New York Food Bank in Action


Our son Will’s college roommate at St. Michael’s College near Burlington, Vermont, Andy, offers us the opportunity to give to their local food bank, Schuylerville (New York) Area Food and Emergency Relief.   The Food Bank collects large donations of food from the food industry and distributes it to charitable agencies serving 23 counties from Plattsburgh to Newburgh; they provide over 35 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 agencies.  We’ll do more than just give them food for thought.

From our daughter Molly’s Family: 

Stim2 Max

Max’s neighborhood ice cream smorgasbord

Max wants to have an ice cream smorgasbord with our neighbors – he is requesting $25 to buy ice cream from Sully’s and toppings.

Owen would like to buy groceries for the local food pantry and also donate some money – he is requesting $20 for us to buy some groceries and $20 for us to give to them directly.

Tip would like to support Black Lives Matter – Boston because we are committed to learning more, becoming anti-racist, and raising our children to understand white privilege. We are committed to learning, growing, speaking up, and acting for justice and equality.

Stim2 Owen

Owen figuring which items to buy with his $20 (among pasta, cereal, and cans of corn)

Molly would like to support Bail Bonds because “There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man or woman gets depends on the amount of money they have.” I’m requesting $50 for the local Massachusetts fund.  By the way, Molly’s family is going to match our gifts to the food pantry, Black Lives Matter, and Bail Bonds.

Stim2 Owen with bags

Thanks to these folks for coming through for Dan and Hannah.  Their stories make me realize that in addition to giving some money away, my companion goal was to strengthen our connections and further build relationships with others.  By others letting us know of the folks in need, Hannah and I become a little closer to the families in bold listed above who brought these stories to us.

Dan and Hannah Make a Family Pilgrimage

(Reader’s note, this entry is from a road trip in 2019.  Such an adventure would not possible in 2020 due to the coronavirus global pandemic.)

I have road trips in my blood.  In a classic woody station wagon, my parents drove my brother, sister, and me to the national parks of the American West.  As a student at Arizona State University and later as a teacher in Anaheim, California, without the means to fly, I drove 13 times cross country over 18 months in the late 1960s/early 1970s.  I’m a travelin’ man. – Ricky Nelson

Pilgrimage FL to Anaheim

With our three kids, Hannah and I drove to the Rockies and the Pacific coast from our home in Maine during four summers in the 1990s, hiking and camping.  The last road trip included a 4500-mile, six-day drive from York, Maine to Fairbanks, Alaska.

But cross country road tripping no longer gets my juices flowing.  In fact, at the dawn of my eighth decade, the tediousness of day after day Interstate driving leaves me cold.  Over the last ten years, when we travel to the West, we fly in less time than a one day’s drive.  With the money to fly, we are soft (and comfortable!).

Pilgrimage York to Ithaca

Parents Ithacans

But this past weekend (April, 2019), Hannah and I take our later-day version of a road trip by driving 400 miles to Ithaca, NY to see Will, his wife Laurel, and our grandson Brooks.  Since we were so far west anyway, we decide to turn our “road trip” into a pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage Ith to Lanc

Two hundred fifty miles to the south of Ithaca near the Mason Dixon line in Pennsylvania lives my Uncle Bill, my mom’s kid brother, and Aunt Carolyn, who are in their 80s.  When my brother Richard and I were in college in Ohio, we would hitchhike 130 miles to Bill and Carolyn’s home in Toledo to be wrapped in their warm embrace, playing cards and board games and eating far better than we  ever did in the dorm.

At their place in Lancaster, PA, it’s like old times.

Pilgrimage 1 Bill and HB

Hannah with Uncle Bill


Pilgrimage H, Caroline, and D

Dan, Aunt Caroline, and Hannah

Pilgrimage Paul and Dan

Bill and Carolyn’s kid, Paul with his uncle

The following day we head northeast, first hike at Bear Mountain on the Hudson River in New York, then take the second stage of our pilgrimage to see my 101-year-old Aunt Ilene at my cousin Suzanne and her hubby Lou’s place near Newburgh, New York.

Pilgrimage Ilene, D and h

Hannah, Ilene, and Dan

Pilgrimage Ilene, Suzanne, Lou

Lou, Ilene, and Suzanne (all still kicking in 2020!)

Aunt Ilene grew up on a farm in Newburgh, NY that I visited as a kid, and she married the love of her life, my uncle Harry, my mom’s and my Uncle Bill’s older brother.  Rushed into WWII in the spring of 1945, Harry was killed in Europe three weeks before the war ended in May.

As was Bill and Caroline, Aunt Ilene is a link to my past as are Suzanne and Lou.  We take a pilgrimage (and by that I mean family road trip) to hug them, feel their love, and acknowledge their importance in our lives.

Maybe my road tripping days are not over.


Dan and Hannah Have Someone for you to Meet – Marianne Williamson

I’ve never been so moved by anyone! Hannah looks at me with tears in her eyes.  Inspired by Marianne Williamson myself, I ask her, Anyone?  It’s a resounding Anyone!   No hyperbole, Marianne gives us hope for 2020.

Marriane map from york to ports

Living across the Piscataqua River from New Hampshire in Maine, Hannah and I have access to the current Democratic candidates running for president.  Having donated to Marianne’s campaign, I get daily emails about her positions and appearances.  Not many people know that she is actually running for president since she is polling at 1%.

Marianne politics of love

With such low numbers, she has not been invited to the latest television debates; or just this past weekend in Iowa was not allowed on the stage because she couldn’t pony up the required $160,000.  Yet she comes to towns throughout New Hampshire, as she did November 3, 2019 when we saw her at South Church (UU) in Portsmouth, to speak her piece (It’s not peace, I checked.) with a plan to be the president of these United States.

Now, we have friends who think she has no chance; perhaps, they wonder why we waste our money or why we are so naive.  Think about it, how long of a long shot was the current president!

Marianne Jimmy Carter

And what about JC!  Last week, Hannah and I were in the American South and spent time at the Carter Center (museum and library) in Atlanta.  When Jimmy Carter announced for president, the leading newspaper in the state had this headline – Jimmy Who is Running for What!?

As a spiritual leader whom we’ve known through our association with Unity (spiritual movement), Marianne has written extensively on personal transformation and growth.

Here are five nuggets from our Sunday with Marianne that might spark you to give her a look.  Click here for her full platform.

Marianne on FAF

One, she speaks to a subject close to my heart – teachers.  She says, each time we see a teacher we should be thanking them for their service as we rightfully do our military.   It’s immoral that public education is funded by property taxes, giving the upper middle class (like our three kids) 21st century schools, and the poor decrepit ones.

Two, she values conversation over the demonization of the other side.

Three, she unconditionally supports the full rights, freedom, and safety of our LGBT+ Americans.

Four, she wants a referendum for all 18-26 year-olds to determine their support for mandatory national service. If this generation is for it, she would implement it at the government level.

Five, she promotes doable tax increases to pay for infrastructure, addressing the climate crises, universal health (not health care!), a Department of Peace, a Department of Children and Youth, tuition-free state colleges and universities, and a $15/hr. minimum wage.  Aligning with billionaire Warren Buffet who believes he pays too little in taxes, she would repeal the 2017 tax cuts and have those making over a billion pay an additional 3% tax.  Those over $50,000,000 2% more.  Would they even notice?

Marianne campaign sign

In front of our place on Chases Pond Road

So where do Hannah and I begin?  We donate.  We display our Marianne sign on our busy country road.  I post this blog.  Hannah tells everyone she meets how Marianne has affected her.

Marianne Williamson just might be worth a second look.  And yeah, Matt Santos was a long shot, too!