Volume III, Issue 12, Page 9

Santa Claus is Real

oitering here on my couch, sprawled there like a derelict, I’d decided on the efficiency of three fingers of clear and not eggnog, and I’m ruminating on my misspent life. I’ve made some really poor decisions in my 64 years, really poor. I spent a lot of time stuck in a web of Sturm und Drang, angst and self-recrimination. In the end, I found that none of it mattered. People still loved me after all.   

One of them is Seneca, my sweet, tough, amazing 16-year old grand-no-longer-a-child. She’s pretty, as you can see, and she’s taller than I am, has an iron will, an old soul, and the physical cover to back it all up. She’s not afraid to scuffle. When she’s not crowding a backboard, she’s showing dorks what fear is at her kick-boxing dojo. I never remind her about her perfectly straight, perfectly sized, perfectly white teeth or how much time and money it took to get them that way. 

The most immediate thing about her (after Facebook, texting, etc.) is fast cars, and I mean hot rods, not Ferraris. She digs American bones. And yes, she’s a carrier. Got what we all got. She has that twisted car thing in her blood. She’s got a wicked jones for my Biscayne. I mean she really wants it. For her birthday, she wanted me to get her a passenger seat in somebody’s 7-second ride. She likes getting the crap scared out of her, too.

She also likes the idea of being in complete control, at least when it concerns a car. She drives like she’s been doing it for a long time. Has that calm demeanor that old men like to see when some whippersnapper is driving their 500 horsepower truck. Reads the road well. I told her some basic stuff and she just carries on. A week ago, she didn’t know what the third pedal was. Learned to manipulate clutch and throttle in about 10 minutes, she did. Okay, pop, what’s the deal? Why should we care two hot seconds about this?

Lemme grind Reverse here. Seneca has none of my blood so I don’t know where she contracted the go-fast spirochete. She’s my stepdaughter’s kid. I am remarried to my first wife Terry now for nearly 15 years. We had a son. In ’69, I gave him up like he was a stick of gum. I feel blessed that we’ve been pals going on 20 years now. He wasn’t infected with the spirochete. I’m getting the extremely rare Second Chance here, at a time when I can enjoy her enthusiasm and persistence. Kid wants to drag race fer chrissakes! What do you think I thought when she identified a ‘70 SS Chevelle in a neighbor’s yard and asked if it was a clone! Where’d she get this stuff?

In Florida, a 15-year-old is privy to a learner’s permit with all the usual verboten activity, but like a lot of kids then and now, she’d made clandestine passages (with an adult) under a dark moon for at least a year or so before that. One part of her is still dwelling in childhood, the other pushing open the door to the absolute unknown, just as we all did when we were 16. How exciting it was to be her age. The whole big glittering pot was there for the taking… if we could only figure out how. I’m pretty sure Seneca will figure out how.

Thanks Santa baby.  


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