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Giving ourselves the gift of San Francisco this Christmas

So as another year ends , I’m shocked we’ve lived here three years already! It’s either street physics that the older we get, the more quickly time passes, because we’ve relatively little of it left (remember, as kids, how summer seemed to stretch on forever?), or it’s even truer that time flies when you’re having fun. And we have been having fun. We’ve had lots of other stuff too — illnesses, hard, seemingly impossible work, missing East Coast friends, learning how the hills fit together, and how to pass the test of climbing them without tearing muscles in our gluteus maximi — but, on the whole, this has been a truly blessed three years.

And I’m grateful for every minute of them.

Oddly, though, we’ve never spent a Christmas here. Instead, because Peter’s family lives in the Arizona desert, we’ve driven hours, with pups in tow, to spend the holidays there, instead of snuggling down into our San Francisco home and making our own Christmas/Chanukah celebrations.

I’ve adored discovering the desert. The good, dry heat, the coyotes resting under the shade trees on the golf courses, toddling around in antic golf carts to pick up a quart of milk, and, of course, the loving embrace of Peter’s wonderful family, who gathered to make us welcome every year.

But we’ve never had our own Season of Lights and Tinsel in this town. So, we’re staying put and doing just that, complete with a large tree in our Victorian picture window. In past years, I have loved seeing everyone else’s trees in the glowing picture windows along Marina Boulevard and up in Pacific Heights. When I think of San Francisco at Christmastime, I will always think of those trees in the beautiful windows of this town, and the warm glow they provide in the night. I’m so glad we’ll be part of that this holiday.

Soon, our door will have a wreath on it, befitting its Victorian heritage, fragrant evergreens swathing fireplace mantels, and we will cook massive meals for everyone, starting with a potato latke fest right after Turkey Day. One special evening, I envision an authentic Christmas punch in a large crystal bowl for a festive gathering of every wonderful friend we’ve made here. It will earn its name because it will pack a punch of good champagne and clove-flavored cheer! And it shall be red!

Determined to do Holiday 2013 here at home, I’m reminded of when, three years ago, Peter and I were invited to a holiday gathering at the home of our sweet friends Doug and Dave, just before we drove off to Arizona to celebrate with Peter’s family. It was announced as a musical evening because Doug is an accomplished pianist, and all his family and friends were invited to sing, play and contribute in all ways musical. So Peter and I decided to write a song for the occasion. Here it is, and it still holds all the sentiment we felt then:

We knew from the first time we came here,
And sat down on the beach right by the bay,
That this was the place we wanted to live
And that we would be moving here one day.

So we’re taking this time off from our unpacking
The hundreds of boxes of our life,
To write you a song that tells you how we feel,
Ev: With music by my husband,
Peter: And lyrics by my wife.

We’re giving ourselves the gift of San Francisco this Christmas!
With all its beauties, sunny or in fog,
With all its ups and downs we’re glad to live in
This town that clearly glorifies the dog!

We’re giving ourselves the gift of San Francisco this Christmas!
It’s filled with dearest family, friends and art,
We’re happy to be op’ning new horizons
In the town where Tony Bennett left his heart!

It’s true we’re out of shape and almost perish
Each time we climb a hill, yet hope survives!
For every time we reach the top of Lombard Street
We see the Golden Gate and love our lives!

(key change upward)

We’re giving ourselves the gift of San Francisco this Christmas,
A gift we know will last our whole life long,
We’re giving ourselves this loveliest new present
And want to share our joy about it

In this song!

I send this song, dear readers, with every wish that your holiday season be sweet, your gifts perfect, and your 2014 all you wish it to be.

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Read more in Evalyn's "For Better and For Better: A Story of Divorce, Dachshunds and Everlasting Love," coming eventually to a bookstore near you. E-mail: [email protected]