MAMARONECK, NEW YORK – Whenever we meet new people, their favorite question to ask us is:

“What’s your favorite country?”

(We get asked this question all the time.)

My Dad’s answer is “India.”

But we didn’t love India as much as my Dad did…

(More below.)

Top 10 Awesome Traits

Greetings from my Grandpa’s apartment in Mamaroneck, New York…

My Dad is taking a break from Postcards. So I’m taking over for today. (Catch up on my first Postcard here.)

I love my Grandpa, and we’re having a great time visiting him. Here are the top 10 awesome traits I love about my Grandpa…

Super smart in every subject, especially in chemistry and engineering.

Extremely funny with everyone, especially with Miles, Penny, and me.

Great conversationalist because he can talk to a group of people and make them all feel included.

An amazing artist. One of my favorites is a painting of him and his brothers. But this one is my favorite of all…


My favorite painting by Grandpa… A girl playing the piano

He reminds me of people like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

He always brings interesting topics to the table, so every time we see him, we learn something new.

It’s fun to play any game with him because he acts like a kid but thinks like an adult.

He has a great memory for everything, like all the riddles he remembers.

Very creative because he does poetry, writing, and music.

Great teacher because he had so many kids, and he gave art and piano classes.

Now back to India…

Bad Times in India

We didn’t love India as much as my Dad did because we got sick there. We vomited up every meal for a week. Everyone in my family got sick except my Dad. He was fine.

We got so sick, we had to see a doctor and we had to go to a special place near the Ganges to get better.

Then we had to take this horrible orange medicine. It was slightly chunky and tasted so disgusting, I’d rather have stayed sick than take it. But my parents made us take it before every meal until we stopped puking. 


By the Ganges trying to get better

Here are some other reasons India wasn’t my favorite country to visit…

Our stuff got infested by bed bugs. Crazy rabid monkeys tried to take my backpack. Penny fell off a bunk bed that didn’t have a safety rail. The food was always spicy… even when we asked for no spice. People stared at us. People tried to scam us…

We also stayed at a house that sloped because the foundation wasn’t level. It was $4 a night. Saltwater came out of the taps.


The house that sloped, for $4 a night

And we found a big spider in one of our hotel rooms.


A spider at the base of Dad’s bed

My Favorite Country to Visit

My favorite country was Japan. My brother and sister like Japan too. 

First of all, our parents let us use their phones and play Pokémon Go. We played it for hours in the parks in Japanese cities.

Second, the food was amazing. Sushi and ramen noodles. We ate both every day.

Finally, Japan had the fastest Wi-Fi and there were vending machines everywhere.


On the Japanese bullet train

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

– Dusty Dyson

P.S. I’ll write to you again soon.

Like what you’re reading? Send your thoughts to [email protected].


As Tom’s dad undergoes chemotherapy and radiation, the debate around cancer treatments continues…

Reader comment: Check out the Netflix film on Fantastic Fungi. The guy presenting it introduces his mother towards the end… totally clear of cancer after following his advice on fungi! Several friends here are now getting “into” the benefits of eating specific fungi. Hope it works for your dad.

Reader comment: I am not a doctor, however, I have been working with conventional medical treatment teams for decades and I greatly respect their work, particularly, that which is “cutting edge” today.

I also have good regard for natural cures; however, I perceive that these generally take much longer timeframes to see any benefit, which is an obvious problem when dealing with a cancer, particularly an aggressive cancer.

My only advice to you and your dad is to get that second and even third opinion. Understand the most cutting-edge treatments for cancer before simply defaulting to chemo and radiation treatment. There are a number of conventional alternatives and these should be fully explored as potential options, even if choice has already been made in favor of chemo and radiation.

Meanwhile, one reader identifies the train set the Dyson children played with at Grandpa’s house in New York

Reader comment: This set looks very similar to the Erector Sets I built with when I was a child in the 1950’s. They were made by the A.C. Gilbert Co. which also made the American Flyer train sets (which I also had). My Erector Sets are still in my garage with all the parts labeled. The amazing thing is that there were no step-by-step instructions for anything – just photos, which you had to examine very carefully to determine what to put where. Must be why I’m so detail oriented.

Another reader comments on an important truth about life from Tom’s old colleague, Mark Ford…

Reader comment: Have been reading about your family travels for well over a year and always enjoy reading them every day. Your quote from Mark Ford resonated with me as I was also in the Peace Corps about the same time, but in Kenya. I remember reading it when Mark first wrote it several years ago and have quoted him many times.

I do have to admit that I did not “suffer” as much as he did in that I was a doctor taking care of the volunteers, so was staff and lived in a nice home in Nairobi. Also, I had a vehicle to drive, but all the same it gives me a totally unique perspective on my home country, the USA.

Lastly, holiday wishes for the Dyson family…

Reader comment: Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I hope you all have a wonderful day – however you celebrate it. I pray that your dad gets stronger every day and is on the path to healing. Have a great safe trip!

Tom’s note: Thanks for the kind words! As always, please keep your messages coming at [email protected], and I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can in a future Friday mailbag edition.