A Fifth Open Letter to James Crestwood (Hanging out in Kansas)

A brief open letter to James Crestwood thanking him for the time we spent in Abilene and Salina, Kansas recently. This is a letter about two friends who are mourning the loss of their Mom. Two guys in pain and who feel lost. That said, I am grateful for knowing James for almost 12 years now. 

“A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.”


“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.”


“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Helen Keller 

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

Proverbs 27:9 NLT 

James’s goats in Salina 



I have a lot of posts to write that are related to my trip to Missouri and Kansas. I am working them in between other posts due to the volume of them and the things I have to get off my chest. I just want to write you a brief open letter thanking you for your friendship love and grace. You know James, I have met a lot of people here in the Washington, D.C. area and they all have affected me in many ways. Yours has been one that is deep and I am profoundly grateful for. The one thing that stands in my mind as I pen this to you is the following. You have been involved in my life in some of the most darkest and difficult moments. A faith crisis, a false accusation, a major illness, Dad’s brain tumor, Mom’s illness, Mom’s death, and more. Sometimes I feel like I turn around and there you are checking in on me and seeing how I am. I don’t know if I told you this but when Mom died on April 1, 2017 you were the first person that called. I was walking across the parking lot of St. Agnes Hospital in Fresno in a state of shock when I heard my cell phone go off and I looked at it and caller ID said it was you. It is how I know you, as you have the knack to be at the right place at the time when I need to lean upon someone. 

I appreciated the raw talk about death and grieving in a bar in Abilene, Kansas. I appreciated you sharing your heart. The decision that was made about your Mom on life support in Kansas City. Going through the dying process. And wondering when this will hit you. This has been so hard. I can tell you with confidence that I am permanently broken. I will never be the same in my life. I was close to my Mom and I am missing her deeply. A grief counselor has been helpful and he has encouraged me to journal this pain. I wish you could have been spared of the loss of your Mom. The same holds true for your brothers in Minneapolis. I wish they didn’t have to go through all this James. Just hanging out in a bar and talking about all this meant a lot to me. I just want to share that with you. Likewise I care about you as well and am wondering how you are dealing with your loss as well. I will ask you from time to time.

Your family roots in Kansas are deep James. It seems like over the years you have shared a lot of your family history. In Abilene I was surprised to see you connections there as well. By the way your cousins the Peterson Brothers released another video that I will put below. Its about farming in California. Just driving around and speaking to you and exchanging thoughts in Abilene also helps keep me sane in these difficult times. 

The following morning I appreciated having breakfast at Perkins with you in Salina. Even now you still challenge which is good. You have a good way of probing and inquiring and for that I am grateful. You can do that in a very grace filled way James. I have deeply respected and admired you for that for years. Just hanging out with you in Perkins reminded me of what we used to do when you lived here in DC. Just hang out from time to time at IHOP and talk. I miss not doing that with you on a fairly regular basis. And finally when my Dad and sister went to Cozy Inn in Salina it was good that you hung out briefly with us. It was good to see Lydia as well. By the way my sister said Cozy had the best hamburgers she has tasted. She is not a big fan of onions but she loved her Cozy burger.James, it was hard to say goodbye to you. It felt like the time there just flew. The purpose for taking Dad to Kansas was to take him to the Eisenhower Library which Dad enjoyed deeply. This trip is a hard trip for me. We have another MRI scan at Stanford University on November 6, 2018. To be honest with you I am scared of what the next MRI will reveal. If you can still reach out and talk and be there during this process that would mean a lot to me. And if your wife, church and kids could pray for Dad that would mean a lot. I don’t want to lose my Dad so soon after Mom. I want there to be more time and holidays, meals, and more. I love my Dad deeply James. And I want to have him for a few more years. Its hell to lose one parent as you know, but I am not ready to lose a second one. 

Well that is it for the day please know that I love you. I will call you more often. Let me know when you make it out to Washington, D.C. Thanks for the love, kindness and grace that you showed me. Deeply thankful for knowing you as a friend. You have influenced me a lot, and you still will James. I will work at calling you more James. In closing I will also leave you with some Brad Paisley singing about loss. Its applicable to both of us right now. 

I love you brother! 

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner