Merry Christmas! But I’m Sad …

Just a quick note to say hi to you guys. Merry almost Christmas!

Cat’s upstairs, asleep. Thus far we’ve had a marvelous week off. Spent two days at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. Visited our old haunts throughout the downtown area, where we used to live. Lovely all around.

While we were having that fun, my father, in North Carolina (where he lives) took a fall in the parking lot of a bank, hitting his head. That knock landed him in a “senior rehabilitation facility,” where he’ll now spend two to three weeks being tested to determine if he’s well enough to continue living alone, as he has been for the three years since his wife died.

If he’s deemed unfit to live alone, then he’ll probably transition into the assisted care facility owned by the company that owns the place he’s at now. If he’s determined healthy enough for independent living, he’ll continue with Plan A, which was moving into the “retirement living community” he was arranging to go into the very day he hit his head.

That’s what he was doing at the bank: arranging his money to move into a retirement community near his house.

He was supposed to be moving out here to San Diego, to be near me and Cat. That was the original plan A. Cat and I had done considerable planning toward his moving here. We were surprised to learn that those plans had changed.

My dad’s not exactly what you’d call emotionally healthy. He never has been. That doesn’t make him a bad guy; he’s not, really. He’s a terrible father, for sure. But, for instance, he never hit me—at least not until I was old enough to fight back, which was something I always appreciated, since he’s six-four and strong as a horse. (I never did return his blows. Who needs that drama? Better just to hunker down and wait them out. Besides, he never truly wailed on me. He was venting, not attacking. If he were attacking, I’d be dead.)

My dad was a poor husband, too. Just … not good.

He’s just not good at anything involving love, basically. But except for that minor detail, he’s awesome. He’s amazingly hilarious, for instance. He’s pretty much guaranteed to be the funniest person anyone who’s ever met him has ever met.

He’s not as funny as me, of course. But who is?

Today Cat and I are going to the San Diego Natural History Museum, to see a display on lizards. We love lizards. After that, we’ll go to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, because we also love trains. We’ve long looked forward to visiting these two museums on this day of her week off work.

One of the key philosophies defining the life my wife and I have enjoyed together for the past thirty years is this: If your first childhood fails, make yourself a new one. (Which, in many ways, is to say: Go back and rescue the kid—your kid—who wasn’t treated right). So that’s what Cat and I have always done with our lives. Because we understand that if you don’t get that part of your life right, nothing else for you ever goes right.

We’re all children at heart. And children we remain.

And this, of all times of the year, is the best time to remember that.

Merry Christmas, friends! And if you’re lucky enough to have them, kiss your children for us.

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  • Suz

    I’ll get to kiss my child in two weeks, at the base in your neck of the woods! Boot camp is almost over – YAY!!! (and I’m thinking January is a good time for my first visit to CA) Merry Christmas to you and Cat!

    p.s. for future reference, Had to change my e-mail here in blogland. Yadoodle +blackhound44 = Suz.

  • Ric

    Merry Christmas John and Cat.

  • oh john, i am sorry to hear about your dads fall. i will hold him ( and you) in the light.

  • Heading out to kiss her right now….. done! (Though I must confess that she’s a little perplexed by her mother delivering kisses from people she doesn’t even know).


    Merry Christmas John and Cat!

  • Anonymous

    Prayers for your family and your dad.

  • Kara K

    John, thank you for continuing to share your life with us. I appreciate your openness and honesty almost as much as (some days more than) your humor.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  • Donwhitt


    Merry Christmas to you and Cat, and to all your many wonderful readers. However it goes with your Pop, may it be work-out perfectly. Love and Peace – dw

  • I feel ya man! My family is in shambles and I’m fighting the good fight with the only power worth anything….Love. Peace and all other good things for you and Cat and your Dad.

  • God bless. Lord be with your Dad and happy Christmas to you all.

  • I’ve heard it said that “One has to grow up, but one can remain immature forever.” – That’s how I live. It’s more fun that way. I’ll probably be watching cartoons, playing video games, reading YA literature and enjoying trips to the zoo ’till the day I die.

    The one time I got to take a trip to the Natural History museum in Philly, they had a special exhibit on geckos. I had my sketchbook with me. Much fun. There was one species – Madagascar Leaf Gecko that made me think “That’s a miniature dragon!”

  • Anonymous


    Sorry for the unexpected event with your father. I hope he’s going to be all right.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there and for enriching my life!

    Wishing you and Cat merriness and happiness and laughter and joy!

  • Anonymous

    Merry Christmas to all Shorians or a very festive Solstice if you prefer. Now that I’m 74 I expect to mature quite shortly. In the meantime, let’s all have fun if we can find it. Cat and John may lead the way.

  • Textjunkie

    I am constantly amazed by your revelations re: your parents and your growing up. I am so sorry he will not be moving out to San Diego to be closer to you and Cat, but allowing your inner kid to enjoy the museums and the parades (there *are* parades, right? 🙂 is probably the best reaction.

    Have a great holiday!!

  • Anonymous

    You guys are so sweet! It means so much to me that you’d take a moment to send me this love. Thank you! (I’ve got this moment here before Cat and I leave for what promises to be a fantastic night out.) Hey, real quick: You might have noticed that I said Cat and I had been planning for my dad to come live near us. Planning.

    Notice what a value-free word “planning” is? It has no emotional connotations at all.

    You plan for all sorts of things, don’t you? Some you look forward to happening. Some you don’t. For instance, I’m planning on getting some pretty major dental surgery done in the next couple of months. That’s something that I’m planning on that I could totally live without happening.

    On the other end of that spectrum, I’m planning, just now, to go shave and get ready for our big Christmas Eve on the Town!

    Love to you all. A lot of you have become friends to me in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible within the context of this medium. I’m thinking of each of you during this time, and wishing you all the merriest of Christmases.

  • You’re right, John, we plan…and life happens.

    I’m planning on getting over this head cold. I think that’s a safe bet.

  • Anonymous

    The admonition that Jesus gave to come to Him as a child, never ceases to invigorate my resolve to be childlike in spirit, mind, and action. Not like I can reverse the aging process, but I don’t let the fact that I fart dust and spider webs convince me that I should take care not to strain anything or risk injury by doing something beyond my physical capabilities. My dear mom has been an awesome example- that when you take IT easy, IT takes you easy. My siblings and I have joked for years that she should get one of those loungers that rise up to help an older person to their feet. “F#€k that crap!” is probably what she thinks internally, but of course externally, she is a classy Christian lady through and through. But she has the right attitude all things considered. Refusing to go silently into that good night of silly looking electric stairway lifts, eject-o-geez recliners, or those 80 gallon side door walk-in tubs, she has probably slowed down the progression of the ailments that keep trying to convince her just to die already.

    The older I get, the harder it is to see my reflection not returning the external image of how I feel on the inside. Without that reflective reminder that I’m 56, I can easily start up a flirtatious conversation with a woman half my age and actually forget that I’m twice her age. Then I remember how easily I throw out my back, just clicking the remote, or occasionally having to push my Lon Chaney Jr eye luggage, upward and aside to read my morning emails. Getting old is a bee-otch. But acting old is just plain stupid. It’s never to late to be a kid. Love that Twilight Zone where the seniors play kick the can and revert physically back into children. Let’s all kick crotchety in the crotch, eh?