Posted by: donrhymer | May 15, 2014

Rhymer Reason

Don had a way with words. As a writer he spent so much time at his computer – writing, rewriting, rewriting, then rewriting some more. I can still hear him as if he’s in the next room, working on a draft and laughing at his own jokes.

His last movie, Rio 2 (see it in theaters soon before it’s gone!!) was released in April. The kids and I went to Miami for the premiere and then hosted a little party here in Los Angeles on opening night. His voice is so clear and his words jump off of the screen. There is a sweet “In Loving Memory of Don Rhymer” tribute at the very end of the film. Every time I see the movie I am stunned by this reality – I may never again see his name or hear his words spoken up on the big screen.

Don’s words are his legacy, his gift. I have voicemails and texts and emails from him. Love letters from college, school essays and short stories. Chapters from a novel he started. I have his office, full of outlines and treatments and scripts. I can watch his tv shows and movies and see the characters that he created bring his words to life. I’m both desperate and grateful to have something tangible to hold on to.

It has been said that “good words are worth much and cost little”.  When each of our kids was in college Don would send them postcards every once in awhile, often just a sentence or two, to say hi and let them know he was thinking of them. They were his way of checking in, of giving a little “Dad advice” from a distance.  For his memorial service we decided to collect our favorites and have them printed to share with everyone who came.

IMG_1798Some quotes are serious, others are funny, but they all have a bit of wisdom behind them.  “Just show up” has become one of our family mottos.

The day before he died Don wrote the last quote on a legal pad in his hospital room. “Focus on the good.”  He was as certain at the end of his journey as he was at the beginning that God does indeed inhabit the bitter and the sweet.

His final gift of his words. No rewriting necessary.

- Kate

 

 

 

Posted by: donrhymer | February 23, 2014

The Attic

I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with my need to clean our attic.  It’s been such a mess for years. Running nearly the length of our house, it’s a big space.  Every holiday, boxes have been brought down, emptied, and decorations put up around the house.  The boxes would then be returned a few weeks later and just left on the floor.  In particular during the years that Don was sick, we just didn’t have the emotional space to be able to have any order to the mess that was the attic.  It became almost a metaphor for how chaotic life felt.

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks cleaning the attic.  Well, the word “cleaning” is up for interpretation.  Organizing is a better word.  When I have spoken of my project, some friends have encouraged me to really clean it out.  Be ruthless.  Get rid of things I don’t need.

But here’s the thing.  At this point, I need all of it.  I can’t seem to get rid of anything.  My life with Don, our kids’ lives, our family – everything is stored in the attic.  I’ve bought 30 storage bins (yes, you read that correctly), and have begun to organize boxes and boxes of life.  Don’s college essays. Comic books and baseball cards.  Our love letters from after college.  I’ve come across Don’s scripts from when he was trying to get a job here in California. Letters to agents. Family photos. Our kids’ childhood memories. I even found a box full of what Don called his guilty pleasure, his “mid-life porn” – several years of back issues of “Coastal Living” magazine.

My need for order, for control – in the attic and in life – is palpable.  I can feel it as I write out labels for storage bins.  I need to know – physically and emotionally – where things are.  Labeling is important.  Maybe in a year, or two, or five, I’ll be able to go back through these bins and get rid of some things – things that right now feel vital and relevant, necessary to hold on to.

Two weeks ago I found a journal that I recognized immediately.  I opened it and on the first page saw my name, Kate Walther.  It was the little notebook that Don and I used when we were planning our wedding in 1983, in Alexandria, Virginia.  In it were quotes from caterers.  The names of florists.  A checklist of what to do 3 months out, 1 month out, 2 weeks out.  Questions to ask our pastor; thoughts as we wrote our vows.  As I turned the pages, I came to a list of photographers.  The first name was “Bermingham Studios, Alexandria”.  I froze.  And then I laughed out loud.  Scarlett’s father, Philip Bermingham, was the first photographer I called when we were looking for someone to shoot our wedding.  We didn’t use him (he was waaaaaay outside our price range), and we ended up with most likely the worst wedding photos ever (you DO get what you pay for).  But what a crazy coincidence.  What a small world.  Don was all about relationships, and he would have loved this connection.  This quirky way our universes could have crossed before either Andrew or Scarlett were even born.

I’ve only dreamed of Don three times in these past 15 months.  The first time he was on a ladder outside an open window at our house.  The ladder started to tip and I reached my hand through the window and steadied it.  (Again, a psychologist would have a field day with that one).  The second dream was at our beach house and was so fleeting I barely remember it. I’ve sometimes gone to bed at night and prayed that I would dream about him.  That I could just see him. 

The third dream was two weeks ago.  Don and I were in our attic.  I was showing him my cleaning project, and we were talking about our kids.  I could touch him, feel him. He was healthy and he was happy.  It was so real, and the dream seemed to go on for a long time.  But at the same time, I was conscious of the fact that he wasn’t alive.  Somehow I knew that was reality.  After awhile, he told me that he had to go.  It was time.  I asked him if we could just walk downstairs first. He looked at me and said, “I don’t walk. I glide.”

I woke up laughing.  I had such an intense sense of his well-being.  I wondered if his comment was because he didn’t need to walk anymore, or if it was his way of giving me a glimpse of the ease of where he is now.  That he is indeed gliding.  That he is with his God.  Probably both.  I woke up happy to have seen and felt and experienced him.

And perhaps the dream taking place in the attic – might be his hint that I really don’t have control over any of this.  I can let it go.  Control really is just an illusion.

But he can still make me laugh.  For that gift, I will always be grateful.

And Happy Birthday Donald.

- Kate

Posted by: donrhymer | December 24, 2013

‘Tis the Season

Here’s the last Christmas letter Don wrote at the end of 2010.  He didn’t write one in 2011 – he wasn’t feeling well and I remember him saying, “I’ll write one next year”.  I can just see him writing these letters – he would sit in his chair with his computer on his lap and all of a sudden start laughing out loud at his own jokes.  He cracked himself up.

This feels like our first Christmas without him – last year we were all so numb, but this year it is real.  And it’s much harder than I expected or imagined.  The kids are all home (except Scarlett, who is with her family on the east coast) and we’ll open presents tomorrow morning, go to the Gallagher’s for brunch, have my sister and her family over for dinner, and then friends over for dessert.  Another family gathering that Don would love.  I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that he’s not here.

The end of Don’s last letter sums up exactly the way I feel – I could never have walked this path without my kids, my family, my friends, my God.  “Unfortunately, cancer is a family journey… Each one handled this very scary season of life with courage, grace and a steadfast faith.”  That statement rings as true today as it did when Don wrote it.  Maybe even more so.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing his voice again, because posting his letters has been very therapeutic for me.  His words, his humor, his wisdom – are all such a gift.  I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays.  Oh, and another shout-out to Campbell for the Christmas pajamas!

Merry Christmas, Donald.

- Kate

From 2010:

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

As you all know, I’m a very busy man.  Perhaps the busiest man in the known world.  What with the binge snack eating and designing my line of festive toaster magnets, it’s a struggle every day to squeeze in a series of refreshing catnaps.

Obviously, there is no way I can set aside the important work I’m doing and write a Christmas letter.  So, I decided to go back through my Twitter account and post some of my “tweets” that tell the story of our year.  You may feel this is copping out, but like I said, I’m busy.  I mean, this sleeve or Oreos is not going to eat itself.

Jan. 1 – You ever have the feeling that nothing can go wrong?  That this is going to be the bestest year ever?  Bring on 2010!

Jan. 15 – Molly working as the assistant to a celebrity stylist.  Mortified that her father still buys his jeans at the hardware store.  “But they’re only nineteen dollars!”

Feb. 2 – On vacation in Lanai.  The maid at the Four Seasons didn’t bring my feather pillow.  Well, at least the year can’t get any worse than this.

Feb. 9 – Kate begins a slow descent into mid-life crisis.  Chardonnay at breakfast?  Prescription drugs?  Sleeping with the UPS man?  No, Kate takes up tap dancing!

Feb. 21 – Visting Boston for Carrie’s birthday.  An acting major, she loves Emerson College and has so many wonderful friends.  What a great decision.

Feb. 22 – It’s minus 9 degrees in Boston.  There is four inches of snot frozen to my upper lip.  She was an idiot for coming here and we’re thinking of having her committed, or at the very least hobbled so she can’t come back.

March 8 – Andrew heads back to work for the second year as a production assistant on HBO’s “Bored to Death”.  The boy is making a living in the film business in New York.  This is a miracle from God and making a joke would only jinx it.

April 1 – Dodger baseball is back!  I just took out a second mortgage on the house and bet it all that Manny is going to have a huge year and take us to the World Series!

April 4 – Kate becomes Volunteer Coordinator at Elizabeth House, a shelter for homeless pregnant women.  This officially makes her the most benevolent tap dancer in Southern California since Shirley Temple.

April 6 – A gorgeous day in Southern California, I casually stopped by my doctor’s office for a check-up… Oh shit…

April 12 – I have a fun-filled morning at USC getting a radical neck dissection, which leaves me with a nine inch scar.

April 17 – “The Scar” grows in power and influence.  Ultimately taking a part time job at Denny’s, meeting a lovely Filipino woman and moving into a moderately priced garage apartment in Reseda.

June-August – Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  A summer of humorous discontent.  For details see http://www.radiatedon.com

Sept. 7 – Molly to work at Madewell, a woman’s clothing store.

Sept. 10 – Andrew producing a series of educational videos.

Oct. 7 – Carrie chosen for study abroad spring program in the Netherlands.

Oct. 23 – Kate serving on Board of Directors of Elizabeth House.

Nov. 9 – Don eats solid food without gagging and uses a big boy potty!

Fun year, huh?  Well, actually with a few notable exceptions, it was.

I was standing on the corner in Pasadena yesterday and an old, possibly insane man was staring at me.  I try not to return the stare of the possibly insane.  Andrew taught me that during my one and only ride on a NY subway, but I could tell he was taking in “the scar”.

He finally tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Life hit you hard.”

He was right.  Between the cancer and the deaths of my mom, dad and grandmother, life hit all of us in the Rhymer family hard this year, but I’d like to think we fought back a little too.  Unfortunately, cancer is a family journey, and I must say… one I couldn’t have made without Kate and my kids.  Each one handled this very scary season of life with courage, grace and a steadfast faith.

And our thanks to you all – family, dear friends and casual acquaintances alike, for your thoughts, prayers, cards, blog comments, good wishes, flowers, candy, yogurt, muffins, and a special shout-out to Goldberg and Campbell for the various fruits of the month.

We could not have made it through this one without each one of you.  Now please…

BRING ON 2011

THE RHYMERS

Posted by: donrhymer | December 23, 2013

Almost done…

From 2009:

RHYMER FAMILY IN CHAOS!!

La Canada, CA - The Rhymer family made national news this year by formally renouncing all local, state and federal ties and forming it’s own city-state.  In an awkward rambling interview, Don Rhymer explained it this way:  “Look, the fact is we are smarter, more successful and way more incredibly, awesomely hotter than we have a right to be.  It’s nothing personal.  I just feel that the Rhymers have evolved beyond you people and quite frankly, you were holding us back.”

The new nation, Rhymlandia, was formed on a Tuesday night in early September shortly after Rhymer realized his Netflix queue was empty.  Yes, the winds of political change blew strong, philosophically and even physically.  “I have never started my own country before, but I knew instinctively that the first thing I should do is build a moat.”

“A moat, he’s calling it?” said his wife, Kate, still aglow from the effects of her blockbuster birthday party she shared earlier this year with Kathy Gallagher.  “I thought we were just having drainage problems.”

Oldest son Andrew, a Brooklyn resident who has worked this year as a production assistant on the HBO comedy “Bored to Death” and the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary “Rat” seems to be Rhymer’s only ally in this political uprising.  “Look, he might be nuts, but he promised to make me Ambassador to Brazil. I don’t care who you are, that looks pretty damn good on a resume.”

The seeds of Rhymer’s dementia appear to have been planted shortly after youngest daughter Carrie left for Emerson College in Boston.  “Hey, when I left home, we knew there would be problems.  Having me around the house is sort of like having your own Cirque de Soleil.  When they pack up their tents, you’re going to miss them.  Except the contortionists.  Everybody thinks they’re creepy.”

After graduating from FIDM and starting work as  the assistant to a stylist, Molly is the only Rhymer sibling left on the west coast.  “I totally hung in there with this whole Rhymlandia thing until Dad started wearing skinny jeans and a cape.”  Mortified, she moved into an apartment in Pasadena shortly thereafter.

Fortunately, economic embargoes and possible military actions were avoided when shortly before the holidays, Rhymer folded his fledgling country.  Why give up?  Why now?  Maybe the mantle of revolution weighed heavy on his hairy shoulders, maybe more worthy endeavors caught his attention.  The world may never know.  According to bystanders, he simply yelled:  “Ooo, look, cake!” and ran off, leaving his political ideologies scattered on the patio.

Casually brushing the cake crumbs from his ill-fitting sweater, Rhymer looks back on the historic events of this year with uncharacteristic emotion:  “Life changes. Sometimes it makes you a little crazy, but it’s sure nice to share it with friends and family you love.  And by the way, skinny jeans chafe.  But I’m keeping the cape.”

Posted by: donrhymer | December 23, 2013

My favorite…

From 2008:

CHRISTMAS LETTERS LIE!!

They exaggerate, they fabricate the facts, they stretch the truth, and sad to say, the Rhymer Christmas Letter is no exception.  But this year?  This year is different.

This year, I will write the usual Christmas letter and then I will have the courage to once and for all tell the truth.  Controversial?  Oh yes.  Funny?  We can only hope.

Ready?  I hope so, because the truth isn’t always pretty.  Especially when it wears those jeans that make it look fat.  This could be a bumpy ride.  Pregnant women, those suffering from vertigo and anyone under forty-eight inches tall should turn back now.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

THE “WE’RE TOTALLY AWESOME” RHYMER CHRISTMAS LETTER 2008!

ANDREW graduated from NYU this year!  Hard to believe.  It was an amazing day, and the ceremony took place in Yankee Stadium no less.  He’s living in New York, and in the tradition of all great writers – bartending!  He’s writing scripts and finishing up his senior film, Sucker Punch.

Okay, that was all a lie.  The truth is: we haven’t seen Andrew in years.  The boy disappeared in early 2005 with twenty thousand dollars in tuition money and a carton of unfiltered Camels.  According to the private detective we hired, he’s in Bolivia, living with a divorcee named Alegria and recently enlisted in the Merchant Marines.  We were initially confused seeing as Bolivia is a landlocked country, but than again geography was never really his thing.

MOLLY has had an amazing year!  She’s now at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles.  She spent two months living with Andrew in New York while she interned with up-and-coming designers Vena Cava, who showed at Fashion Week.  She’s also started her own line of headbands.  She’s doing a brisk business and is in stores as far away as Australia.

The truth?  You know it’s really embarrassing, but as it turns out, Molly isn’t even ours.  I know, weird, huh?  As far as we can piece it together, sometime in early 1991, Kate was picking up a bunch of kids at a Chucky Cheese in Burbank and apparently came home with one more child than she should have.  In our defense, our house is quite large, she was an extremely quiet toddler and back in those days we were very disorganized.  Anyway, she has now been reunited with her real family and is living peacefully in a trailer park outside Barstow.  We miss her.  Okay, the truth is… not really so much.  She had very expensive taste and the whole vegetarian thing was really starting to creep us out.

CARRIE is a senior!  She just played the lead in the La Canada High School production of “Barefoot in the Park”.  It was a wonderful performance.  In October she and Kate spent another week in Mississippi with Habitat for Humanity.  She’s still working part time at a local bookstore and is busy applying to colleges.  She’s pretty sure she wants to pursue theater.  So far she’s been accepted at University of Oregon and about five other schools so pray for her as she’s got a lot of decisions to make.

Again, the truth?  We’ve kept this pretty quiet, but just between us?  The girl’s doing time.  Oh yeah, a dime and a half at Chico.  We’re still not completely sure how it all went down, but there was a bank and a getaway car, and then Carrie suggested running through a drive-thru and before you know it the cops caught her with ten thousand dollars in cash, a large order of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and a Chicken Soft Chipotle Wrap.  She writes often, whenever her cellmate Big Ethel lets her use the pen.  We were lucky enough to visit this summer and were able to catch her performing scenes from “Carousel” at the annual prison talent show.  If you would like to help fund her appeal, you can donate canned good and cartons of cigarettes to http://www.freecarrie.com.

KATE and I have been married twenty-five years!  We had a wonderful anniversary trip to Napa Valley and we can’t wait to go back.  She’s queen of all things high school drama, very active in National Charity League, and this year began doing a lot of work at Elizabeth House, a facility for homeless pregnant women.  She’s obviously the virtuous charitable one in this relationship and I’ve been lucky to ride her coattails all these years.

Okay, this one is hard.  Yes, we have been married for twenty-five years, but it’s time to once and for all reveal the truth.  Kate won me in a poker game.  It was the fall of 1982 and she was living in Washington, DC.  She was a different Kate back then.  Rowdy and randy with a thirst for the dark side.  She ran a poker game out of the basement of the Library of Congress and one night… she caught a queen on the river and walked away with me, four thousand dollars and the keys to a ’74 El Camino.  Yes, those first few weeks were rough and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my smart tongue often earned me the lash.  But within months she was letting me out of the basement for brief periods to darn her stockings.  Within the year we were married at a VFW hut in McLean, VA and looking back… I wouldn’t change a thing.

Okay, so now you know the REAL STORY!  It feels so good to finally be free to tell the truth.  We hope that unlike us, you’ve had a trauma free year.  May the season bring you God’s blessings, wonder, and peace.

“Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in a conspiracy of hope.”

THE RHYMER FAMILY

Posted by: donrhymer | December 22, 2013

Letters…

From 2006:

RHYMER CHRISTMAS LETTER RETURNS!!

Restless nation breathes a collective sigh of dread…

Los Angeles, December 2006 – It’s indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as, after a one year absence, the Rhymer Christmas Letter once again lays siege to America’s postal system.  Citing exhaustion, a lingering depression over the Dodger’s inability to land a power hitter, and the hard truth that he was just too drunk to type, Don Rhymer failed to pen his annual holiday dribble last year.  The response to this startling development was swift and uncompromising… “Thank God I don’t have to smile and pretend to have actually read it.”  – Andrew Rhymer

The always rambling, occasionally incomprehensible holiday musings of the La Canada resident had built a loyal following amongst an eclectic group of friends, relatives, prisoners and, not surprisingly, a growing number of mental patients, most of whom like to read it backwards, then fold it and wear it as a decorative Christmas hat.  For seven consecutive years, Rhymer parodied the typical family Christmas letter, usually singing his own praises while shamelessly using his lovely wife and three children for cheap comic fodder.  When asked to comment, his wife Kate was quoted as saying:  “It was all in the name of fun.  Plus getting revenge by shaving his eyebrows in his sleep always felt good afterwards.”

Why bring back the Christmas letter?  “It was just such an eventful year,” says Rhymer.  “I’m more awesome than ever, and really feel that America needs to know that.”  This reporter was able to secure an advance copy of the letter that weighs in at an astonishing 47 pages.  Forty-six and a half pages talk about Rhymer himself:  his expanding waistline, his short-term memory loss, and his recent inability to digest corn – take up the lion’s share of the pages, but what this reporter found particularly disturbing was his twelve page analysis of his ear hair.  Writes Rhymer in one frightening passage – “Foliage increased 18 percent in July alone.  May be a record… call Guinness.”   A disturbed man in obvious need of help.

The only redeeming quality in the forty-seven pages is a single paragraph given over to bragging about his long-suffering wife and kids.  He details Kate’s year of transition getting now a second child off to college.  Her continuing commitment to National Charity League, and her participation in re-establishing the Drama Parents board at the high school.  Son Andrew is apparently now a junior at NYU.  Having spent most of the summer working on his father’s film “Deck the Halls” he was excited to get his first screen credit as a production assistant.  It was a big year for the oldest Rhymer daughter Molly, who in the spring had her deb ball, the culmination of six years of volunteer work with the National Charity League.  Now a freshman at Arizona State University, she is majoring in interior design and a proud Delta Gamma sorority sister.  Carrie, just months away from getting her driver’s license, is a sophomore at La Canada High School where she is very involved in chorus and the drama department.  A finalist in the statewide drama competition, she is soon to be seen in a production of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs”.

As always, in closing the letter Rhymer tries to redeem this whole shameful attention-grabbing exercise by attempting to be heartfelt and caring.  He talks at great length about being grateful for God’s blessings and thankful for the gifts of friendship and community.  He preaches that life is fragile and oh so short; then just as we start to tear up, he ends the letter by telling us that he is now going to the bathroom about five times a night and has given serious thought to installing a camping toilet by his bed to save him the ten foot walk.  His misguided attempts at humor only prove once again that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him understand what’s funny about it once he gets there…

So, this reporter begs you, when the 47 page spiral bound Rhymer Christmas Letter comes your way, complete with a tri-fold insert of Don in lederhosen… toss it.  Your attention only encourages him to write again and, as a nation, haven’t we suffered enough?  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Posted by: donrhymer | December 21, 2013

More?

From 2004:

WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU

Due to circumstances beyond our control (laziness, lack of inspiration, an all encompassing malaise), there will be no Rhymer Christmas Letter this year.

Yes, we are aware of the worldwide ramifications.  The fall of the Yen, the drop in the NASDAQ, the inevitable coup in Thailand, (seriously, the Rhymer Christmas Letter is HUGE in Thailand), but it just didn’t happen this year.  Oh, sure we could have come up with something.  Several options were discussed.  A Rhymer “Pop-Up” book received much consideration, but this idea was quickly shelved when Carrie suggested a “Dad’s Pop-Up Love Handle” page.  We talked about designing a Rhymer Christmas Letter website… but since we still haven’t quite gotten the hang of email we decided that was a little ambitious.  We even discussed releasing a full trilogy of Rhymer Christmas Letters complete with twelve pages of commentary, behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes, but let’s face it the Rhymers are barely interesting enough for one page.  So it was left up to me… and I have failed you all.

So, without a letter we will not be talking about the girls.  Molly, now a junior in high school, reader of great books, champion of independent film and edging herself ever closer to driving.  And Carrie, eighth grade, journalist, philanthropist and killer Napoleon Dynamite impressionist.  Both are lively, energetic young women who fill our lives with music, dancing, and the occasional screaming battle over a missing cashmere sweater.

And since there sill be no Rhymer Christmas Letter we will also not be able to tell you that unfortunately, Andrew has run away from home.  Well, he calls it “going away to college” but Kate considers it an abandonment.  He just finished his first semester of film school at New York University.  He loves New York, but is just realizing that they have this thing called “winter” there.  A time of year when wearing board shorts and sandals to class results in something New Yorkers like to call “frostbite”.

Without a Rhymer Christmas Letter this year there will be no proper forum to brag about my wife.  A woman who continues to inspire and surprise me.  She’s taking on a bigger role in the National Charity League as well as trying to grow the calendar business by adding a second product, “A Year in the Life of Our Baby”.  As long as she doesn’t try to add an actual baby, she can sell all the calendars she wants.

I trust the lack of a Rhymer Christmas Letter will leaving a gaping hold in your holiday.  I expect marriages will crumble, many of you will turn to the drink.  But rest assured a new day will dawn, there will be growth in the spring, and next year I’ll start the letter in July. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, ad God’s blessings to you all.

THE RHYMERS

Posted by: donrhymer | December 21, 2013

And another one…

I’ve been meaning to post a few letters, but have been a little busy getting ready for Christmas.  A little shopping, a little decorating, and LOTS of baking.  That’s been my coping mechanism this year – I may gain twenty pounds by January 1!

Here’s a letter from 2002.  Hope you’re enjoying  them.

- Kate

           SORRY

There’s no Rhymer Christmas letter this year.  As many of you know I usually get one of the kids to write the letter, but negotiations with Carrie broke down over the foreign distribution rights.  However, minutes before we went to press, I was able to rip a few pages out of our family diary so hopefully this will bring you up to date.

January 6th - Construction on the new education annex and Rhymer mediaplex finally complete.  Don makes agreement with Molly that if he continues to pretentiously call it a “mediaplex” he will be forced to drive a ten penny nail through his right thigh.

March 1st - Carrie breaks finger in suspicious “bounce house” incident.  Forced to compensate, she learns to write with her left hand and apply eye shadow with her toes.   Or at least that’s what it looks like to us.

April 12th – Despite a joint resolution from both Houses, Molly finally gives up on the eight year “bang” experiment.  Tearful press conference ends as bangs are hermetically sealed and sent to the Smithsonian.  Traveling exhibition plans are scrapped when bangs are inadvertently knitted into a sweater.

June 31st - Realizing June has only 30 days, all Rhymer accomplishments on this day including cold fusion, the cure for the common cold and the cancellation of all television shows involving Emeril are invalidated.

October 9th - During a crucial water polo match, Andrew is suddenly drug to the bottom of the pool by the weight of his hair.  Play continues after a team of NASA engineers develop proper counter measures.

October 20 - Carrie brokers peace in the Middle East, but again that phony Jimmy Carter takes all the credit.

November 1st - “Santa Clause 2″ opens.  Don gets writing credit along with three fourths of the lunch crowd at Jerry’s Deli.  Receives his share of the bonus money, but immediately loses it in the cushions of the new couch in the mediaplex.

Thanksgiving  – Rhymer family extravaganza to New York City!  Published reports to the contrary, we were NOT asked to leave.  But as Andrew discovered, the Broadway cast of “Oklahoma!” does not consider it helpful when you jump on stage and join in on “The Farmer and the Cowman”.

December 8 - Kate contemplates starting a new business with Kathy Gallagher.  Initial excitement wanes when full ramifications of sweatshop laws are examined.

Again, our apologies, and finger’s crossed, we’ll be back in the Christmas letter business next year.  We hope the coming days bring your family much excitement and joy.  May the Lord bless you and your family in 2003!

                                 The Rhymers

Posted by: donrhymer | December 15, 2013

More Christmas Letters…

Here’s Don’s Christmas letter from 2001 – one of my favorites.  Enjoy.  – Kate

Hello Friends,

As most of you know, I always try to get a different member of the family to write the annual Christmas letter.  Having run out of family, I decided to ask someone who really knows us to step in.  Someone who could give you the real story, no punches pulled, about what’s been going on in our lives?  There was really only one way to go… our mailman Dave.  (He prefers Postal Carrier, but I like the way Mailman Dave sounds.)  Anyway, here is his letter, and Merry Christmas!   –  Don

Greetings from the U.S. Postal Service!

When Don asked me to write this letter the first thing I asked was… How much you paying Chubby?  After we agreed on a price, (he’s a pushover by the way) I thought, “It’s about time somebody rolled over on these people!”  You can tell a lot about a family just by delivering their mail and these guys are no exception.

By the way, I’m not quite sure what Rhymer does for a living other than:  it has something to do with show business, he’s around the house all day and he never seems to wear pants.  (Which is frankly a matter I’m taking up with the Postal Union.)

The wife Kate is always passing me in her new Tahoe with a big smile, a wave and a Pepsi from Taco Bell.  This was a big year for her.  As a lot of you know she and her friend Kathy Gallagher participated in the Avon Three Day Breast Cancer Walk.  Sixty miles from Santa Barbara to Malibu.  (As a Letter Carrier I sympathized.)  She raised over six thousand dollars for breast cancer research and acquired an attractive case of bunions in the process.  She appears to truly love her children and husband.  If this is true, I would like to get her to spend some time with my wife who frankly, won’t have anything to do with me.  (She claims it’s the uniform, but let’s face it… even with the knee hi socks… I rock!)

Their oldest son, Andrew, is how a high school sophomore and had another great year of water polo.  He seems to be on the mailing lists of Young Life and several different church youth groups so that must keep him pretty busy. His landmark achievement of the year was earning his learner’s permit.  Driving and young men can be a lethal combination on a mailbox so at my urging Don has had his reinforced with concrete.  There were a few letters addressed to Andrew that appeared to be doused in some sort of perfume, but again, I don’t like to pry no matter how much his dad offers to pay me.

Molly is in eighth grade and has temporarily switched from dance to competitive cheerleading.  “Cheer Spirit”, “Cheer, Cheer, Cheer”, “Jr. Cheer”.  I had no idea there were that many cheerleading magazines on the market, but trust me, she gets them all.  Her squad finished fifth in their first competition and third in their second.  They’re hoping for a spot in the regional meet in Las Vegas so I have my fingers crossed.  And now a word on party invitations…  Again, I have talked to Don repeatedly and informed him I cannot go through them all and conveniently “lose” the ones that may include boys.

For Carrie’s tenth birthday she got a puppy!  A tenacious little mutt she named “Mona”.  The two of them are inseparable.  She was in another community theater play this year, “The Jungle Book”.  (Frankly, I thought she was the best one, but I’m biased.)  She was also cast in a nationally syndicated children’s radio drama called “The Pond”.  (Go to:  lifeatthepond.com for where it might be playing near you.)  I know this because she keeps getting all these paychecks for this gig and for doing local radio ads.  (From what I can tell she’s apparently the number two earner in the Rhymer family.)

Oh, and for the last two months they’ve had me dodging construction vehicles.  Seems they’re doing some work on their house.  Something about enclosing a porch or something, ask them for details.  Other than that, all I can say is that their dogs bark way too much, Don has a serious Amazon.com addiction, and WHAT’S WITH THE CATALOGS!  These Rhymers get five a day.  Go to the mall once in a while, will ya!!

All and all a good mail year for the Rhymers.  The load was heavy and sometimes overwhelmed the confines of their Model 12 Aluminum Upright Mailbox, but all families feel that way sometimes.  As with most people they fear that cell phones and email addresses are making letter writing a lost art.  They pledge to try harder in 2002 and they hope you will join them in making that commitment.  Happy Holidays and I look forward to passing on your letters to the Rhymer family in 2002 and please… use zip codes and write legibly.  Your government thanks you.  God bless you and your families.

DAVE THE MAILMAN

Posted by: donrhymer | December 13, 2013

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Starting sometime around 1998 Don began writing our annual family Christmas letter.  It was his attempt at a light-hearted parody of some of the holiday letters we would receive.  Some years he would make it sound like one of the kids had written it, but Don was always the author.  He would use the opportunity to give a family update, with his signature humor.  And he always managed to make fun of himself.

This seems like a perfect time to share some of his previous letters.  In re-reading them, I find myself laughing and enjoying hearing his voice again, often sarcastic and snarky.  People would sometimes tell him that his was their favorite letter every year.  One Christmas he decided not to send a letter, and the response was swift and furious.  One friend left us notebooks and pens on our front porch in case Don had just simply run out of writing materials.

This first letter is from 1999, from Molly’s perspective.

Like I’ve said before, Don’s words were one of his greatest gifts.  I miss his humor, but I also miss the heart that he could convey.  I’ll post a few letters between now and Christmas – every few days.  I hope you enjoy hearing his voice once more.

- Kate

                                     “Happy Holidays”     (Christmas, 1999)

It’s that time of year again.  Time for Christmas letters!!!  Some of you remember that Carrie wrote our family’s Christmas letter last year, so I asked if I could do it this year.  I told Dad I wanted to write a new and different Christmas letter, so I decided to turn this one into a GAME!  Ready to play….

                         “WHO WANTS TO BE A… MILLIONAIRE!!”

Actually Dad watches it, but that’s just because it makes him feel smarter than Regis Philbin which I keep telling him does not seem all that hard.  If you can answer all the questions correctly then you… well, you’ve been spending far too much time with us and probably need to get out more.  Ready?

This Rhymer family member ate an entire box of mint chocolates and then proceeded to throw up on Mom’s white berber carpet eight times?

  • a)  Dad
  • b)  Bagel (our beagle)
  • c)  Carrie
  • d)  Mom after seeing our report cards… well, I’m sorry but we were very busy!

(Is that your FINAL ANSWER!)

Mom and Kathy Gallagher had their 40th birthday party…

  • a)  on a boat
  • b)  in a horse-drawn carriage
  • c)  at Delancey’s Pub to take advantage of their 99 cent spicy buffalo wings
  • d)  they’re not forty – and don’t you dare say they are, OK??

(How are you doing so far?  Two for two?)

Dad signed a deal to write what sequel?

  • a)  Porky’s III
  • b)  The Santa Clause II
  • c)  Rocky 12
  • d)  Saving Private Ryan – From his Overbearing and Understandably Clingy Mother

(I don’t get this last one, but dad thought it would be really funny and he’s supposed to know what’s funny even though personally I think most of his stuff could use a little work.)

Andrew took up what new sport this year?

  • a)  curling
  • b)  blackjack
  • c)  golf
  • d)  looking at girls on MTV and saying… “Wow!”

(It’s funny but for some reason Andrew’s interest in girls seems to be in direct proportion to his growing addiction to hair gel.)

Carrie was in not one, but two school plays.  Afterwards, people were heard to exclaim…

  • a)  “I’ve never seen an onion played with such energy.”
  • b)  “Kudos – more fun than recess!”
  • c)  “Carrie Rhymer IS Lady McBeth… only shorter.”
  • d)  “Make up your bed right now young lady.  I don’t care what your manager said!”

And finally… for ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!

Molly – that’s me – spends most of her waking hours…

  • a)  worrying about her bangs
  • b)  curling her bangs
  • c)  praying to God to heal her fractured bangs
  • d)  remarking how particularly good her bangs look today

If you said all of the above…  YOU WIN!!!  Hope you enjoyed my game and I think I should close by saying we all think God was particularly good to us this year.  Mom and Dad kiss all the time, which is very annoying and quite frankly embarrassing for people their age.  Andrew is a great big bother and even though Carrie uses my skin care products WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME…  I still love her.  I have to go now… it’s a very bad bang day, a lot of long hours and heartache ahead.  May God give your family joy and peace this Christmas.

The Rhymers – Don, Kate, Andrew, Molly and Carrie

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