Hop­ing for the best this hol­i­day sea­son

Times Standard (Eureka) - - HOME+GARDEN - Dave Sil­ver­brand Dave Sil­ver­brand’s col­umns and other writ­ings are avail­able on his web­site, www. dav­es­peo­ple.com.

Val rock­ets his tri­cy­cle across the liv­ing room, slam­ming it against the front door. I have watched him do it time and again, a 3-yearold on a mission. Heaven for­bid the front door of the Buhne Street house be left open. It hap­pened years ago in King City, when my brother, Peter, climbed aboard his tri­cy­cle and found an open door. They caught him rid­ing north on the cen­ter line of High­way 101, desti­na­tion un­known. We re­live those days on our nightly calls from Peter’s prison.

Truth be told, I pre­fer the jar­ring con­fine­ment of the closed front door. I can’t han­dle freedom, the only old man I know who needs parental su­per­vi­sion. That’s why I pre­fer to be mar­ried and ev­ery pe­riod of my sin­gle­hood has been a search for that se­cu­rity. Oddly enough, it’s not easy. I have yet to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of the other part­ner as hard as I have tried. My ex-wife in Maine tells me she let me go be­cause she “had trou­ble with men.” On the other hand, she wrote in her diary that I was a good kisser. If so, why did she kiss me good­bye?

Now, in one of life’s great ironies, my Do­mini­can wife says she loves the idea of fam­ily but mar­riage may be too much. In her view, I have been a gen­er­ous man, a great provider and father. It is just that I haven’t lived up to her fan­tasy. I am sure it didn’t help that I al­most left this world last sum­mer, gasp­ing on an oxy­gen ma­chine and stum­bling for­ward with a walker. It could be that life in these pros­per­ous United States is too over­whelm­ing or just too darned cold. I may never know. I am sure that in time, I will fig­ure things out. In the mean­time, I put pri­vate thoughts to pa­per be­cause it helps me to give the beast a name.

I have learned some­thing from ev­ery re­la­tion­ship in which I have been, even from the woman whose father sold ma­chine guns from the trunk of his car. Dur­ing a visit from my mother, my girl­friend man­dated a choice: spend free time with her or my mother.

That was an easy one. From my ex-spouse, Cather­ine, I learned I could be a father, adopt­ing her child. Now our daugh­ter is a ca­reer U.S. For­eign Ser­vice of­fi­cer. And be­sides, I learned how to be a good kisser.

Now, I can look back at my Do­mini­can ex­per­i­ment with sim­i­lar pride. I speak ad­e­quate Span­ish and know the ins and outs of im­mi­gra­tion. I also em­brace my sec­ond daugh­ter, Leti­cia, who has be­come my rock star. Some­times, as they say, a child leads us. I have shown her life’s ad­ven­ture from Hol­ly­wood to Beth­le­hem and places in be­tween. We have also tossed wa­ter bal­loons in the bar­ren flower fields of Lom­poc, where I grew up. Best of all, she picked me up when I fell so of­ten this sum­mer, the hard land­ing of a man with life-threat­en­ing coro­nary is­sues.

So, head­ing into the hol­i­days, I am not sure how to act. I had al­ways en­joyed buy­ing a fam­ily tree and win­dow shop­ping on those chilly De­cem­ber nights. I will this year, too, but it won’t be the same.

It is good that I am fin­ish­ing my book, the one I wrote this sum­mer when the doc­tor said my cog­ni­tion was im­paired. It is also a re­lief that I will be work­ing again, as­sum­ing I pass the drug test. If they are test­ing for di­uret­ics or heart pills, I have a prob­lem.

It could be that I, too, am vic­tim of a fan­tasy. If tra­di­tional wed­dings were so com­mon­place, why do we watch the Hall­mark Chan­nel? Isn’t that just the same old thing?

So, I am think­ing of an old-fash­ioned Dave-style Christ­mas. My dear friend, Char­lie, and I want to take a parolee to Dis­ney­land to see Mickey Mouse in his hol­i­day glory. Plan­ning has been go­ing well, ex­cept that our parolee has been ar­rested again. There is al­ways some­thing, isn’t there?

No, I have not given up on white lace and prom­ises or on the con­cept of home for the hol­i­days. Some­times, you have to im­pro­vise. So, climb back on that tri­cy­cle and hope for the best.

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