Dan’s Day 29 of 29 Gifts – Building Strong Families

Day 29 Richmond map

Our son Will and his girlfriend Laurel have invited us some 600 miles south to Richmond, Virginia for Thanksgiving.  In their home, they make turkey day with all the usual suspects: sweet potatoes with pecans, brussel sprouts with cranberries, stuffing, both with and without sausage, tossed salad, candied carrots, corn casserole, biscuits, and one big bird.

Day 29 Rook deck

Then we bring the gift that, like Wonder Bread, builds strong families: a deck of Rook cards to play Mormon Bridge.  This easy-to-learn game combines some strategy and a decent amount of luck so that everyone has a chance to win.

Day 29 Rook hand dealt

It’s a game with whoops of surprise and groans of “oh no’s” when one trumps another’s card.  The game comes with a surprise ending that Hannah and I will show you when we next get together for Mormon Bridge.

Day 29 Will and Laurel with cards

Dan’s Day 24 of 29 Gifts – Dad’s 97th

Owen with his great grandmother

Owen with his great grandmother

Dad would have been 97 today.  My gift is a letter to Mom inspired by a conversation with our friend Corky.

What I learned from Corky is to infuse my conversation with Mom with references to how she and Dad influenced our life in a positive way.  For example, I’ll mention in my note to Mom how Hannah and I value our time together and learned from Dad’s and her example.  Hannah and I sit by a fire many evenings with a glass of wine as Mom and Dad did at Bolton Place in Fair Lawn, NJ.

Day 24 fireplace scene

Dad taught us kids tennis, a sport for a lifetime.  We saw them play bridge with their friends.  Now we get together with our kids and friends to play a 21st century variation of bridge: Mormon Bridge.  Hannah and I took our kids cross country as my parents did with my siblings and me.  Mom and Dad live on in us, and my gift is to let Mom know that – in writing, in a letter that she can read over and over again.

The Family Rothermel (brother Richard, sister Patty, Dad, Mom, and me)

The Family Rothermel (brother Richard, sister Patty, Dad, Mom, and me)