My dad, Billy Venable, and my brother, Bill Venable, were killed in a random home burglary attempt 15 years ago.
As we grew up, our family bonded over frequent dinners at our favorite Mexican restaurant. A staple of those meals together was chips and cheese dip as an appetizer. It was the first thing we ordered, almost before we sat down. It was a time to be together, relaxed and stress-free, talking and laughing as we scraped white cheese and asked for more baskets of chips. In the time since my dad and brother were taken from us, our family has continued those dinners as a way to remember my dad and brother.
In particular, every January (when our tragedy occurred), if we are together, we will head out for Mexican and tell stories of dad and Bill. If we are apart, we will do that virtually, often sending pictures of our “chip and cheese dip toast.” It’s a simple but meaningful ritual, and one that survives.