Sunday, December 5, 2004

It must be time for that trip out West. In years past, when I had a bit more control over my own destiny and schedule, I planned periodic trips to the West Coast for a reality check. Now, I know that to some of you, this may sound ironic, but let me explain.

I was born in Whittier, California, back in 1955, in the middle of the Eisenhower era. My parents were fond of L.A., but the rest of the family, with the exception of my dad's brother, was back in Tennessee, and I guess it was some acute need for closer family ties that lured my mom and dad back to west Tennessee. So that's where I grew up, with the exception of several summers during my teenage years, when my mom and dad would send me back to California to spend summers with my uncle and aunt.

Summer in California as a teenager was spectacular. We could ride horses down undeveloped dirt roads on Western movie sets in Chatsworth, shop at these new things called malls (also handy for checking out girls) in Canoga Park and Reseda, spend a day at Zuma or Pt. Mugu Beach, and get the perfect tan. It was nirvana.

In my twenties, I had a job which required me to travel to Los Angeles on a regular basis. It was during those years that I made new friends with similar interests. I was living in Chicago and Atlanta at the time, so going back to California meant a) getting a lucky reprieve from the brutal Chicago weather, and b) being among a more sober crowd than I found at that time in Atlanta.

Of course, many years have passed, and I know that all things change over time -- I'm sure that much change has come to Southern California. But I must say that to see the Hollywood sign lit up at night, to cruise west on Sunset, and to dine at one of my favorite places on La Cienega would indeed be rejuvenating at this point.