Write me a story, dad.

My kids got a me a terrific Fathers Day gift, and I’m really excited about it. It’s a subscription to an online service I’d never heard of — storyworth.com. Every Monday for a year I’ll get an e-mail from the site asking me a question that the kids picked out from a huge selection of questions, and I’m encouraged to write my answer on the storyworth.com website. I can even add pictures. The kids get a private email with my answer each week, and after a year I get a hard-cover book delivered to my house with all my stories. RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!

The weekly questions are “writing prompts,” and I’ve promised myself to spend no more than 20 minutes writing when I respond. Authenticity and all that.

So the first question the kids picked arrived by email this morning. “At what times in your life were you happiest, and why?”

20 minutes later, I published my answer:

Somewhere on a shelf in our house is a bottle of wine that mom and I bought on our honeymoon in Nantucket, back in 1993. The wine went bad before we had a chance to even open it, but the label was pretty and it reminded us of our first trip as a married couple, so we held on to the empty bottle. A few years ago I started putting little pieces of paper into the bottle, each with a few words meant to remind me of the times that I was happiest, the times that we were happiest. There are plenty of concert ticket stubs in there, too, but the scraps of paper say things like “when Julia, Evan and Ethan were born” and “drive-in movie in Welfleet.” I am sure that 100 percent of the stuff written down has to do with family. We’re not sure when we are going to break open the bottle to re-read everything, or if we even will. The good news is, the bottle is getting really full, which means I must have been quite happy in my married life. Maybe for our 30th anniversary in 2023 we’ll start another memory bottle. Only this time, we won’t wait for the wine to spoil; we’ll open it immediately and share a glass with our now-adult kids — and ask them to put in a few pieces of paper with their happy family memories, too.

I am so looking forward to next Monday’s email prompt.

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