Posted by: donrhymer | December 23, 2010

Christmas Letters

As some of you know, about twelve years ago Kate asked me to write a Christmas letter, I rebelled and wrote a really snarky parody of a Christmas letter and actually enjoyed it. So, now I do one every year, trying to squeeze in some mildly amusing wrinkle.

Some of you have already gotten it, but I thought I would post it here, because well… this is a cancer blog and there’s a lot of cancer in it.


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 of 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 tap dancing lessons.

Feb. 21 – Visiting 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 the Elizabeth House a crisis shelter for 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, casually stopped by my Doctor’s office for a check up…

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. is born.

Sept. 7 – Molly to work at Madewell. A women’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 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!!!



  1. I miss your clever Christmas letters. Every year pushed further down the list until your left off. But that’s ok, because it’s the memories that count most, not the lack of another piece of mail in December.

    Best Wishes

    Mr. M

  2. As much as your health adventures led to some really good comedy writing in 2010, how about a little less of that in 2011? Hey, how about a blog about a really healthy guy who forgets what the inside of a doctor’s office looks like?

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    Michael Gordon

  3. Is time and the aging process smoothing the sharp edges or is it just the drugs? Keep writing! Inquiring minds want to know……..

  4. Hi Don,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Wow! I wish I could articulate my thoughts about my own experience with cancer like you. You have been a real inspiration to me bro. I am praying that 2011 will be a great year for both of us. I have my next “big appointment” in Feb of 2011 to see where I am at.

    Blessings to you & your family,

    George Landes

  5. Ok, so now that I have used my morning to catch up with your life, I hope you appreciate all the tax dollars that were used for that purpose. You should expect things like that to happen when someone finds out something like “Don’s in a caged death match with cancer” through a Christmas letter. Seriously, upstaging all the Christmas pagents, school news, exotic trips and normal calamities like dislocated shoulders is so like you. The only consolation I have is that perhaps this ordeal has robbed you of the ability to scream “Is Richie here?” in your best Margaret Hamilton imitation, which was never very good but always gratingly effective. I have long imagined getting my thoughts down for others to read and I appreciate your curing me of this. I’m allowing you to believe that is because I see that I can never be as witty and clever as you. That is my gift to you. I hope you enjoy it.

    Missing your voice but enjoyng your words –


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