California Dreamin’

I don’t go on many business trips. When the church rectory is a quarter mile from your church there’s not much reason to travel long distances. But I was out in LA this week for an Episcopal Life Board of Governors meeting. Yes, you can call me Governor. Actually it’s an advisory board for the Episcopal Life Media Group (the Episcopal Life newspaper and Episcopal Life Online). But you can still call me Governor.

As I scrambled to get out the door and into the cab amidst the zaniness of the usual school morning routine, Ben’s parting words were “Don’t forget to bring me something.” Kids seem to equate business trips with gifts. And I usually do find something to bring home. But the element of surprise is gone. It’s become an expectation rather than a gift freely given and joyfully received. I enjoy finding something for the kids because it means I’m thinking about, and missing, them while I’m gone. The only time I don’t like shopping for them is when everything’s rushed and I’m perusing the airport gift shop. They really don’t need a Hollywood shot glass or a plastic Oscar statuette.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to resort to this. On the last afternoon, before hopping on the redeye back to JFK, a few of us went to the Getty Museum. And, yes, it was brutal returning to 20 degree weather after sitting in a short sleeve shirt sipping coffee on a porch watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. But I found the perfect gift at the museum shop: art supplies. Charcoal for Ben, graphite pencils for Zack. Not exactly a token of California but popular nonetheless.

Of course I may be in the doghouse since I didn’t find anything for Bryna. She hasn’t said anything but if she does, I’ll tell her I did pass Frederick’s of Hollywood while driving down Hollywood Boulevard. That should end the conversation.


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