I took my wife's advice and have driven 931 miles, (1,498 Km) from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Santa Barbara, California. When I left, the temperatures were very cold and snow was on the ground. Arriving in southern California, I could drive with the windows down.
It is always familiar coming to Santa Barbara, but this time, something felt missing. As I came to my parents neighborhood, I realized my father is not to be seen again. He died last February 26. I also have strong memories of my daughter Naomi while she lived the last months of her life here. It is strange that these two intimate ingredients of my Santa Barbara associations are missing. Nonetheless, my mother welcomed me heartily and with gratitude. I spent Christmas with her.
My younger brother Brent lives nearby my mother. He lives alone with his dog, Purdy. I made a painting of Purdy, who in animal years, is 105. She still can hop into Brent's car and sit on his lap when he drives.