I have decided to write on something completely different than the Episcopal/Anglican/Catholic/whatever else. I guess this is going to be a point of personal privilege.
I am sure most of those that read this blog would be aghast to know that yours truly was raised in Southern California. I grew up with skateboards, surfing, body surfing, belly boarding and great suntans and beautiful blonds on the beaches (I actually married one). For a period of time I managed to get to the beach every single day. Skateboards were still made from 2x4s and a stolen skate from your sister. For me, the entire coast from Long Beach to the Trestles (and yes I body surfed the Wedge) and back again were my playgrounds.
Now you are probably thinking to yourselves, hum, how did he get around so much? All of that not withstanding, Southern Californians have a special relationship with the automobile. We talk in hours and not miles. We talk 409s, 327, 283, 350, 351, Carter carburetors, 4 speeds, doughnuts, and breaking rubber, and street races. We cruised up and down Whittier Blvd to pick up "chicks" and to pick up a street race. I believe that Modesto had nothing on what we did with cars. If you didn't have a car you had a friend with a car. The nirvana of Southern California was the driver's license quickly followed with the sound of car keys falling into your hand. We listened to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Ventures, Dick Dale and the Deltones, KRLA, KHJ and KFWB.
This idea of automobiles as the primary source of transportation was something Southern Californians are born with. If you have never seen a baby born let me tell you that most boys are born with their hands in a formation that is identical to the ten and two driving position. Tickets were a badge of honor in your circle of friends and anathema to you via your parents. We would scrape and take bottles back to stores for recycling just to get enough money to pay for insurance. It is safe to say that the only reason one got a Book of Common Prayer is to tell your parents "I need to drive to church".
For over 46 years I have enjoyed the great privilege of owning and driving a host of cars. My favorites through the years include a 1965 Valiant with a Carter 4 bbl, Hurtz 4 speed and a real ability to fool a whole lot of other folks. This Valiant was one of 6 made that year. I once owned a 1956 Jaguar with a drop head coupe, great car. I also loved my 1978 Fiat Spyder. On a couple of occasions I was able to discover that the Fiat can indeed go 140+ miles per hour right through the 57 and 60 freeways on my way to work. We had Novas and Suburbans and Oldsmobiles and my best friend would bug me nearly every day about "be a man, get a Ford." Sadly Jerry moved on to that big Ford Dealership in the sky.
Now, I am faced with giving up my license and my driving privileges. Certainly not because I want to but because a host of specialists tell me I must. No more smelling burning rubber, no more immediate personal freedom to go wherever, whenever and return with that same cavalier approach. I say to myself, this is not Chicago or New York, or Seattle. This is California, how can someone who has not had an accident in over 40 years and who does not have a host of tickets, (well, okay some but its not like I got a ticket every week. More like every month or two.) not drive. Removing my driver's license is like amputating a hand or foot or leg. I will have for years those feint feelings of my drivers license in my wallet. I will have to have someone drive us all, all the time. I have not ridden in the backseat of a van/car/truck in a really long time. I am a control freak of major proportions. As I had one counselor say to me, you will go through the grieving process just like you lost a friend. I told him I don't due funerals, and I don't do graveside services. I will not start at this point in my life and so I have no real idea how this is going to work itself out. American Graffiti this is not. The worst of it is that every day of my life I will look out the window at all the people who are driving cars around the block, the town, the state and the nation and will say, "Thanks Uncle Ho. I thought you tried but were not able to get me on Mutter's Ridge, or so I thought. "It's one, two, three what are we fightin' for. . ."
I have a column I have written and re-written over several days/weeks. I want to provide a realistic evaluation of where the San Joaquin Diocese is as we welcome in our "newest non-Anglican, Anglican bishop. Stay Tuned.