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Chapter 1      New Beginning


I awoke at 3:30 am from a dream I did not want to end. In that dream, I met a beautiful girl; she was like the treasure all men seek. Her presence transformed my life, and all those around me. I was able to overcome any obstacle, I felt unstoppable. The need to be early to my business is what finally forces me out of bed. Dreams are for another time, now for reality  

Has this happened to you?  Your day is almost over, things have gone well so far, then to be interrupted for what, trivia?  Maddening.  It was about 4:25 p.m when the call came in from a new loan officer at Wells, Steven Engles.

”Mr. Donaldson we need to review your SBA loan.” Engles said. ”Come to the bank tomorrow at 3:30 pm’.”

”Review what?” I asked.  ”What’s to review about my loan?”

I had a three year loan for $50 thousand, now less than a year to go. Don’t think I owe them $14 thousand, never been late on a single payment. They should be asking me to increase the loan, that’s what I would do in their place.  Hey, perhaps that is what he wanted. Oh sure, then why would he want me to come there? He could offer to increase the loan over the phone, after thanking me for the business. Did I hear any thanks from him? No, Just a curt, I need to see you, come in tomorrow at 3:30pm.

”Is it important?’ I asked. ”Can’t we do it over the phone?”

”No, I need to review your file with you,” he said. Then he simply hung up.

My staff meeting did not end until almost 3:15 pm. I would be unavoidably late. I walked into the bank at 4:05 pm.

”Mr. Donaldson, you are late.” I heard a voice call out, ”Sorry, Mr.Donaldson, I can’t see you right now,” he said. ”Do you mind waiting over there, pointing to a chair at the rear of the bank near the john?”

”No, I don’t mind,” I replied. Of course, I mind you sending me to the back like an outcast, I thought. ”Sorry, to be late a client delayed me; at least we signed a new account.”

”I won’t be long,” Ingles said .

From his appearance, he must be at least 90 pounds overweight, his waist is at least 44 inches, with eyeglasses coke bottle thick. He’s going to dislike me for sure. He must hate guys that are successful and good-looking.

We both knew he was simply giving me crap for being late. Human nature never changes, those that can’t do, resent those that can. Resentment creates guilt. Guilt must be compensated, the compensation is always judgment. Judgment creates more resentment. It’s a never ending tragedy controlling humanity from time immortal. All the relationships and success we achieve in life are based upon our self-esteem, our confidence; this poor guy must have been teased miserably by his family and the kids at his school. That is why he has to make everyone else pay homage.

Look at that girl, window number 3. She’s a definite 10+. Oh my gosh! I’m in love. She has shoulder length dark brown shimmering hair that glistens and beckons as she moves.   She’s wearing an emerald green silk blouse that must cost at least $200. Her earrings, are they emeralds? Bet they are. How can a teller afford to dress like that? Why would she work here?  Gees, she could be a model, sure like to meet her.  I think she’s smiling at me.  She’s brushing back her hair, stroking it gently with her fingers; again, she’s looking right at me. For just a second our eyes locked together, it was as if an electric shock went through me. I have to at least say hello.  Maybe she will go to the restroom. That would be perfect. The jerk sat me right in front of it to piss me off. Gees, this might turn out to be the best seat in the house.  Oh my word, she’s coming; I’ll get up and say hello and smile.

”Hello, I’m David Donaldson, waiting for Steven Ingles,” I said. ”I have never seen you here before, of course I don’t come to this branch very often. What is your name?”

”Marisa, Marisa Dougherty,” she said. ”I have only worked here for a couple weeks. My father is a good customer of the bank; he felt I should work during summer break. I am a senior at SC.”

”Hey, great! I went to USC Law for over a year. I’d really love to talk to you about school, life, love, all sorts of interesting things,” I said.  ”I belong to the L A. Athletic Club down on 7th St. We could meet after work for a drink or tea.  I usually come to the club every night, work out and play a little bridge. Any day would be great?  I would love to hear your dreams. Dreams make life, don’t you think?”

”David, my father is a doer, not a dreamer.” she said. ”He said those that dream don’t do.  Those that do, don’t dream.”

”Perhaps he doesn’t know what dreams are. Dreams are what you really deep down want your life to be. What treasure would you like to find,” I said.

”I like the way you talk, Dave, can I call you that?”

”You can call me anything, but I prefer David,” I replied.


”David was the King most loved by God. I don’t recall anyone calling him King Dave,” I said.

”You want to be a King?”

”Not really, but I want to be loved by God,” I said.

”You are different David; yes I would love to talk with you, how about tomorrow?”

”Great, I can be here any time after 9:00 am,” I said.

”Silly, on Friday I don’t get out of here until 5:30 pm.”

”I will be the last customer here at 5:00 pm walking with you to the club,” I said.

”You don’t have to do that, I’m a big girl capable of taking care of myself.”

”That I understand, I just want to make sure you come; I will be protecting my interest,” I said.

”You are funny David, see you tomorrow.”

”Mr. Donaldson, I am ready for you now,” Ingles smirked.

”As you know; Mr. Donaldson,” Ingles said.

”Please call me David, no need to be so formal, I am an old customer.”

”Yes, a little over three years. We have had clients with the bank for 50 years,” he said.

”Great, but since I am only 26 that’s not possible, is it?”

”Mr. Donaldson, I was given the assignment to review all Small Business Administration loans to make certain they are in compliance. Yours is one of those,” Steven said.

”Yes, so?”

”Mr. Donaldson, I cannot locate your annual statement for last year or the second quarter statement for this year. Did you submit them?” he asked.

”Sure, the second quarter is not completed yet. This is only June 23rd. The quarter will end June 30th. That statement you will get about August 7th.  As far as last year goes, I submitted that to your predecessor in March.”

”Oh yes I have that, but where is your audited statement?” Ingles asked.

”Audited statement? Are you kidding, Steven?  An audit would cost me over $5000. My balance with the bank is less than 14K.  I am not foolish enough to spend 33 1/3 % of the loan balance for an audit? No one has ever asked me for an audited statement before, why now?”

”Mr. Donaldson, I told you I was given the task of seeing that all SBA loans are in full compliance. If you will read your loan application you will see the clause, Paragraph 19C, here.”

”I don’t care what it says, no way am I going to spend that kind of capital for something so foolish. Every payment to this bank has been timely. Do you see any risk for a measly 14K? You have my last statement. Our sales increased 74% over last year. Profits are great, better than the statement reflects. Mine is a private company, I’m not out to show big profits to pay big taxes, I am not foolish with money,” I replied.

”Mr. Donaldson, it’s not me, I am only following orders. I must ask you to bring me the audited statement within 30 days.”

”Thirty days! No CPA is going to be able to complete an audit in that time. I will ask my accountants their schedule then call you first of the week. Look, Ingles, I don’t mean to offend you, I will need to take this matter over your head.”

”That’s certainly your right; however, I have already cleared this matter with Herbert. He said I am in charge. Whatever I recommend, the bank is behind me,” he replied.

”Steven, I can see you have lots behind you, but remember it’s what’s in front of you that matters, I will call you by Tuesday.”  Darn, I felt this guy was going to be a jerk. What am I going to do now?  I need the money for new machinery or I would just pay the loan off. Damn, I should go back to the office, but I think I will go to the club to have a  good stiff gin, after he ruined a good day.

”Bye Marisa can’t talk now, see you tomorrow,” I told her.

”How did it go with Ingles?  she asked. ”He really is a jerk, nobody here likes him.”

”I will be here tomorrow to see you, until then I am enchanted,” I said. ”Tomorrow we will get much better acquainted.”

I decided to pass up my nightly workout to go up to the fourth floor card room. Maybe Judge Parker and Murphy are here already. A short game of bridge will give me time to clear my thoughts and help me decide how to handle Ingles.

”Hello Judge, mind if I sit in?  Good evening, Bradley, Greg, Murphy,” I said walking in.

”Hi David, you come to make your usual donations to our retirement fund?”  Murphy asked.

”Murphy, the last time you won was when your wife left,” I said.  ”Where is she now, Jamaica.”

”Who knows, at least it’s not costing me, now I have more time to scalp you losers,” Murphy responded.

The entire table laughed at that one. Murphy was the kind of player who always wanted to raise the stakes.  I did not mind except we rotated partners after each rubber. When I drew Murphy as a partner, I would refuse to raise stakes after he had three drinks.

I heard Murphy’s company, Unified Drill Bushings; annual sales exceeded $60 million last year. The company’s private, so no telling what their profits are.  Not bad for an ex-destroyer Captain. Navy pay was never like his now. Murphy never drinks during the day, but he loves to come here, play cards with his friends, and have a few belts as he says.  Thankfully, he can afford a driver. Raymond, his chauffeur waits patiently in the lobby every night for hours waiting to take Murphy home. Murphy lives way out in San Marino; he would never make it by himself.  Judge Parker is the presiding judge of the Superior Courts here in L.A. County. He’s a good bridge player, and the best person I know to learn what’s going on in town, politically. The Judge claims to be hard of hearing, but even a whisper he picks up if it’s interesting stuff. I imagine that years on the bench listening to boring lawyers, you learn to tune most of it out. I can’t imagine how I would be able to sit on the bench day after day, listening to the same lies. Only the names change, the play remains the same.

”David, do you want in or not, you sleeping?” Bradly asked.

”No, Bradley, just daydreaming,” I said.

”Daydream during the day my boy when it’s time to play cards and you’re going to be my partner you better stay awake,” Bradley replied.

”Shut up and deal, some of us are here to play, not yak, yak, like women,” George piped in. ”And give me some cards, you’re up 1800 points Bradley, share the wealth a little, you always deal me crap.”

”George it’s not the cards that are crap, you play like crap,” Bradley taunted.

”Play shit, I would like to see you play my hand, you’d be down three. Come on bid or pass,” George told him.

”Whose turn is it to order the drinks,” Murphy wondered.

”Yours, Murphy, you haven’t bought all night,” George said.

Murphy was a little pissed at that saying, ”I bought the last round what are you talking about.”

”How many of those Mai Ti’s have you had? They’re making your memory fail.  If you can’t remember that the Judge ordered the last round how in the hell can you keep track of the bidding?”  George asked.

These characters rib Murphy incessantly. All in good fun, nobody takes offense. They really don’t care who pays. Heck every player here has millions, even Judge Parker, his wife is from the Crocker Bank family, she inherited something like $35 million when she was 40. Believe me they still have every dime and then some. Frugal is a mild term for the Parker’s. Conservative the Judge says, just being conservative.

”How is that new factory you moved into David?”  Bradley asked.

”Cheap thrills, a good building, very inexpensive rent, but you take your life in your hands driving into that neighborhood,” I said. ”Judge, why don’t you get that Newton Street Division to get off their ass and patrol South Central?”

”No sense in pushing people around David, the police remember 64 and the riots down there. Best let those folks police themselves. That is what their Councilmen want. Why should we oppose the will of the people? If they want to shoot each other down there, at least they stay out of West L.A,”  Judge Parker said. ‘We don’t have any major companies down there. A bunch of mom and pop liquor stores. Nobody gives a damn about them anyway, so leave well enough alone.” ”Why did you put a factory down there David?”

”If I had done my research correctly I would never have. I was only looking at the cost of space. I needed a large building with secured parking and freeway access. Everything fit the bill; only too late did I find out that I was moving my company into a virtual war zone. Funny, I read in the Times yesterday that crime is down 12% in LA. What a joke. That is for the tourist trade isn’t it. When I had our last of many robberies at the plant, Detective Scott told me that they don’t even write reports in the area. The police simply ignore the entire region. Murders, rapes, armed robberies, dozens every day, no reports in the media. Tell the people everything is great in LA, and it will be,” I said.

”David, heed my advice, move your business, forget South Central. If what I hear is correct, another riot is soon to happen,” Judge declared.

”Judge, I’ve got three years to go on a lease, can’t move,” I said.

”David, what’s worth more to you, a little loss on a lease or perhaps losing your entire business? Remember, whatever you decide I gave you ample warning, Judge Parker sternly suggested. Why don’t you talk to Bradley’s bank? I know they are looking for new clients like you, young go-getters, men who can build businesses. City National wants to give Union Bank a run for their money. Union’s had all the small business markets locked up for years, except for the rag trade. That’s City National’s basket, tell him Bradley,” Judge said.

”Judge is right David; the bank is making a big push for new accounts in the small business sector. Who are you banking with now?” Bradley asked.

”Wells, but I tell you I dislike the bank or at least the jerk they assigned to my account,” I replied.

”Wells is a good bank, but they are a consumer bank. They like millions of small accounts. That way they have no risk and can suck fees out of customers who don’t complain. Good business if you have the volume they do,” Bradley volunteered.

”David, if you want to grow your company you must have a relationship with a bank, with its senior officers who know you; otherwise your competitors have a huge advantage over you. Capital is absolutely required to be a fast-moving company. Without access, you will remain like those mom and pops the Judge says nobody in City Hall gives a damn about. Banks and City Hall want to be with the players. You have the ability to become one of the big boys, but only if you have a team behind you. It takes a Bank and friends in Government. You know what I am saying David? ” Bradley asked. ”If you would like to join our bank and group of friends, call our Downtown head office. Ask for Arthur Townsend, he’s our Vice President, a really topman. He has authority on his signature alone to commit the bank for $5 million. At Wells, even Shandler, in San Francisco has to get the committee approval for anything over $2 mill.”

This coming from Bradley Goldman, Chief Legal Counsel for City National Bank was words to the wise. Listen and act, or be left in the dust of your competition.

”Thanks for the tip Bradley, I will call Arthur Townsend tomorrow morning. Is it alright if I use your name as a referral?” I asked.

”Certainly David, in fact I will call him myself and tell him to expect your call. At least if I lose money to you in bridge, I will get it back at the bank,” Bradley chuckled.

George is a big time lawyer. He is senior partner at one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, the mighty, Latham & Watkins. The firm has over 600 lawyers on staff. They occupy 6 entire floors of the Arco Towers, the tallest buildings in California. George heads up the labor relations department. Julio brought in the food, by that time Murphy was sound asleep in his chair.

”Should we wake him up?”  George asked.

”Hell no! You wake him, he can be your partner, I am finally ahead in this game,” the Judge snapped back.

”Let him sleep for a while, I have to leave after this rubber, I have a busy schedule tomorrow,” David said.

”Sure David, you get $50 bucks ahead and want to run, I know you,” George kidded.

”No George, I have to be at Northrop Aircraft at 7:30 am. It means I will have to leave La Canada at 6:00 am to get to Hawthorne on time,” I said.

”Are you playing tomorrow night? We have the big duplicate match with our Jewish friends from Hillcrest?”  Judge asked.

”No, sorry I have an important meeting tomorrow night. It probably won’t be over until 10:00 pm,” I replied.

”Meeting my ass David, you’re probably seeing some young babe aren’t you?” Judge Parker said.

”Pass the cash men, Julio please bring my check so I can sign it,” I told all.

”Certainly! Mr. Donaldson,” he said.

”Goodnight men, see you next week, Bradley, thank you very much for the advice and introduction,” I said.

”No problem, David, delighted to be of help,”  Bradley said.


 Chapter 2        Fresh Start


I drove onto the Pasadena Freeway at 5:47 am needing to be early for my meeting with Armstrong, the head of building maintenance for Northrop.  When I met Ray Armstrong, it only added to my feeling that this would be a great day. Some guys you meet as a new vendor are not really anxious to see you. Maybe they are comfortable with the vendor they now have, they resent having to do business with a new company just because of the bidding requirements on government contracts. Northrup is a government contractor; there were more Air Force brass in the offices than civilians. Ray got us a coffee; we went into his office, shot the shit, got to know each other. Within fifteen minutes I felt this guy is a friend, the kind of guy you could share a beer with and enjoy good times with.  Ray said he had been at Northrup ever since he returned from active duty as an Airman First Class, A1C in 1967. Being head of maintenance Ray has access to every building at Northrup including those where the top secret airplanes were being designed and built for the Air Force. Not only does Ray have access to all areas, he knows all the project heads. Over the course of four years our friendship grew as did my business with Northrup. Ray had introduced me to many department heads that were all happy to do business with a friend of Ray’s. I left Northrup that day after lunch with Ray and the Purchasing Agent assigned to his group, holding a contract worth $300,000 in new sales revenue.

I phoned Cindy to let her know the good news, told her I was going to be at City National Bank.

”That is really good news Mr. D, a Mr. Townsend from City National Bank called before lunch he asked you to call him,” Cindy said.

”Great Cindy, call him back, tell him I will be at the bank by 2:00 pm. I hope to be back at the plant before 4:00, see you,” I said.

City National is located directly across Pershing Square from Wells. I took the elevator up to the third floor and asked the receptionist for Arthur Townsend. Classy, this man did not make me wait, he came out to greet me, saying;

”Hello David, glad to meet you, come on back. David; Bradley called me this morning and he explained the problem you have with Wells. What is the name of the loan officer who handles your account?” Arthur asked.

”Steven Ingles,” I said.

Let me call him, Arthur said.  Hello, this is Arthur Townsend, City National; put me through to Mr. Ingles, a loan officer, please. Hello Mr. Ingles, I understand you handle the Vantage Industries, David Donaldson account at the branch.

”Yes, how may I help you, came the timid reply?” Ingles said.

”Vantage is transferring their account to City National as of now, I understand they have a small loan balance with you, please give me the payoff on that,” Arthur asked.

”Sorry, but Mr. Donaldson would have to request that in person,” Ingles said.

”Ingles, you apparently do not know to whom you speak, if you do not give me that balance in the next minute, your boss will, I do not believe that will help you with Wells,” Arthur stated.

”His balance is $13.428.65,” Ingles told him.

”I will have my assistant bring a bank check to you within the next 15 minutes, please have his file cleared and give it to my man, is that OK?” Arthur asked.

”Yes sir, I will handle it myself, ” he said.

”David, that seems to have cleared your problem with Wells, now let’s get you set up. Bradley gave me a run down on your business, we took the liberty to check you out. City National wants to work with you. I have opened a business account for you, all you need is to bring your Corporate Seal to the Bank and stamp these documents. In addition we have approved a revolving line of credit for you in the sum of $300,000. that should provide capital for your expansion into a new facility. I understand your desire to get out of South Central. Is there anything else I can for you?”Arthur asked.

”Arthur, what else could anyone do? You have given me the Golden Key that will unlock many doors. I, we will not let you down, I will show you our appreciation,” I said.

”David, that is appreciated, you have good friends, always keep them close, you help them, they help you that is what makes this world grow. Bring these papers back on Monday if you can. Have a great weekend,” Arthur with a smile told me.

Leaving City National, I decided to walk over to Wells and cash out my account leaving only enough funds to cover the checks outstanding, plus I could not wait to see the look on the face of that jerk Ingles, but what I really wanted was to see Marisa and her beautiful eyes.   Entering the door of this mausoleum I saw Ingles sitting at his desk with his head buried in some trivial documents trying to look like he is important, he never had the guts to even glance at me, just stared at his desk. I bet he lasts at Wells for another Month at best; pompous asses like him never last. Marisa saw me, her face lit up with a huge smile. I stood in her line even though there were three empty tellers; the teller on her side said ‘may I help you’?

”No, but thanks,”  I said.

”David, what brings you back today?” Marisa asked.

”You, only you, dear Marisa your smile captured my soul,” I responded.”Cash this check for me, let’s get out of here.”

”David, be serious, this is for $7500.00 what do you need that much cash for?” she asked.

”To buy you dinner my dear,” I told her.

”David, I said I could not leave until 5:30 today, it is not even 4:00 pm,” Marisa said.

”Marisa, I am going to get my car from the garage over at City National that will take me about 20 minutes. You go to the restroom, come back tell your cashier you are feeling ill, nobody is going to be downtown after 4:00 pm, they don’t need you, I will pick you up in front. If you don’t come out I will sit in the car and honk the horn until you do,” I told her.

”You’re crazy David,” she said.

”Yes, I am crazy, crazy to not take you out of here right now. See you in 20 minutes,” I said.

I did not wait for her reply, only turned and left.  I pulled out of the garage needing to make several turns to get over on 5th Street as all these streets are one way. Driving up 5th, I see Marisa standing on the corner waiting. My heart is beating so fast I might faint; I pulled over opening the door.

”Come on let’s get out of here,” I told her.

”Well, David you were right, they do not need me tonight, they said I could leave early, now where are you taking me?” she asked.

”Hawaii, my dear, we have to make the 5:30 flight,” I said.

”David, I cannot go to Hawaii, Dad would kill me and you,” she cried out.

”Just joking dear, let’s go to Malibu, I know a great restaurant where we can dine on the sand if you want,” I said.

”It better be good, you have to get me home before 9:00 pm, I told Mom I was having dinner with friends,” she said.

”No problem my dear, let’s put the top down and enjoy this sunny day,” I said.

I pulled over, put the top down, Marisa took off her shoes, leaned her chair back then put some tunes on the radio; I can see she is excited for an adventure.  Driving west on the Santa Monica Freeway at 4:00 pm on a Friday is not fun, traffic is always heavy, but on Friday it is a congested nightmare, right now I do not care. Marisa is mouthing to the music, waving to the honking horns of the guys in their Porches checking out this beauty with her hair flying, arms waving in the winds, loving all the attention. Cruising North on Pacific Coast highway with the top down, feeling the gentle on-shore breeze coming in from the sea, with this lovely girl at my side is idyllic. The sun is only now beginning it’s descent into the sea casting a warm yellow golden blanket over the constantly moving waters. All I could think of at this time is walking on those golden sands holding the hand of this Angel.

”David, how much farther?” Marisa asked.

”Just about 5 miles dear, it is a long drive but worth it, you will see.”

Just ahead on the cliff above the sea, sat our destination, The Holiday House.  You simply cannot find a restaurant with a more spectacular view, the finest food in Southern California than The Holiday House Malibu. It sits on a cliff above the ocean, below the restaurant down the cliff, they have about 17 hotel rooms, some are fabulous with private patios on the beach, some with river stone fireplaces. What more could you want than to lie in your bed looking at the steady pounding of the waves being absorbed by the sand while a roaring fire is at your side. This place is a favorite getaway for the Hollywood Elites, great food away from prying eyes.  Jack Kennedy used to meet up here with Marilyn Monroe for a romantic evening or more. I was anxious to see the place again and have not been here since I started my own business.

”Mr. D, where have you been? My word it’s been three years, you spending your money in Pasadena now I hear,” boomed Howard,’ the genial owner of this great place.

”No Howard, I started my own company a few years ago, time is a luxury for me. I wanted to show my dear friend Marisa your place; this always has a warm spot in my heart. Howard, can we borrow a couple of towels from the hotel, I want to take a walk on the beach before dinner?” I asked.

”Sure David, I will hold a table for you only until 7:00, we are jammed tonight as usual,” Howard said.

”Thanks, I want a bottle of Mums and two glasses to take down, please?” I asked.

Marisa brought the wine, I picked up the towels then we took the little tram down the cliff to the beach.

”David, this place is incredible, I never heard of it before. Have you ever stayed in the hotel here?” she asked.

”Yes, a couple of times, when I did not feel like driving all the way home late,”  I replied.

”Who did you stay with?” she asked.

”Oh, a couple of young starlets who thought I was an agent, nothing to write about,” I said.

”You’re joking, right?” Marisa asked.

”Yes dearest Marisa, I don’t sleep around,” I said.

”Yea, I bet,” she responded.

”Marisa, leave your shoes here let’s take a walk. The sun will be setting in about 30 minutes, it is a view to remember.  Pour us a glass, take my hand. I have waited for hours to walk and talk with you,” I told her.

”Talk, is that what you want?” she asked.

”Yes, my dear, how else can we get to know each other if we don’t talk. I told you when we first met I wanted to get to know you, and you me,” I said.

”Why, what are your plans?” she asked.

”I have made no plans. If I was able I would rush you off to the church and marry you right now,” I replied.

”David, that is silly, you don’t even know me,” she said.

”That is precisely why we are here my dear,” I said.

”David, why do you call me my dear?” she asked.

”Because you are very dear to me and it is not proper for me to call you ‘my love yet, is it?” I said.

”You are a strange man, David; let’s have a toast, ‘Dreams can come true’,” Marisa said.

”Dear Marisa, that is a lovely thought, salute! Come let’s sit, watch the beauty of this sunset, while I look at you, only then may I determine who is more beautiful, you or the sunset,” I said.

”David, you are crazy, but I like it,” she said.

”Come on we better get our table, this place packs up at 7:00,” I said.

Hi David, you just made it, this party has been driving me crazy for that table, come on I put you center stage, directly in front of the deck, enjoy.

”Oh, my David, you get the royal treatment why?” Marisa asked.

”I found that if you treat others with caring and respect, they in turn do the same to you, that dear one is why my business is growing so fast, I care about the needs of my customers, I consider them friends,” I said.

Mr. D, nice to see you again, we have your favorite halibut tonight, shall I bring that for you both, our server asked?

”Marisa, they have the finest fresh halibut in the world, served with baby red potatoes, do you want that or something else?” I asked.

”David, you order, you know what’s good. I am happy you asked me. Say what happened with Ingles, he was like a sheep when you came in?” she said.

”Dear Marisa, no dearest Marisa, that is an example of treating people with love and respect. I play bridge with some great guys at the club at least three times a week. One of them is the Presiding Judge of the Superior Courts in LA County; another is chief legal counsel for City National Bank. Judge Parker recommended to me that I change my banking to City National, Bradley’s bank. Bradley told me that they are looking for up and coming young men to build business in the city.”  ”Bradley called The Vice President of their head LA office, he asked me to meet with him. I met him this morning after securing a very valuable contract with Northrop Aircraft; he paid off my loan with Wells, then set me up with a $300,000 line of credit. Now, I can expand in a new plant, I will be able to employ over 500 in LA. The city needs jobs so it works for everyone,” I said.

”Good Lord David, all this in one day, God must surely love you,” she said.

”Great things happened to me today, but this is the very best, being here with you, Marisa. I mean that with all my heart, I am so thankful you came with me.” I told her.

”You did not leave me any choice, you said you would sit out in the street honking your horn until I came, did you mean that?” she asked.

”Yes, every word. Enough about me, Marisa my dear tell me about you,” I said.

Mr. David, here is a treat from Howard enjoy. Oh my word my favorite wine, a Stags Leap Cabernet 69, this is too much. That is not all, try this crab dip, Chef made it special, dip this bread then sip the wine.

”David, this is magnificent, oh my word, I never had anything like this,” she said.

”OK, then talk, I want to know every detail of your life, every lover, leave nothing out, I did not, I told you things even my family do not know,” I said.

”David, come sit close to me, I want to say something very private to you,” she said.

I slid my chair up against hers leaning close to her mouth, then she kissed me. At that moment my life changed, I knew I could not live without this Angel in my life.

”I took her hands in mine, staring deep into her eyes and said, I love you.”

”I know David, I feel the same,” she said.

For the next two hours we talked, drank wonderful wine, enjoyed food fit for Kings, and loved each other. Howard came over saying; you both seem to be very happy.

”David, looking at this beautiful gracious lady I can see why.  Don’t be a stranger, bring this lovely lady back, my customers can see what real class is,” Howard said.

”Thank you, we will cherish this night,” I replied.

I left a $50 tip for the servers and chef as we had to leave.

”David, please put the top up as it is getting cold,” she said.

”Sure my love, you said you needed to be home by 9:00, we will be a little late.”

”That’s alright; I told Mother I would be a little late,” she told me.

”Marisa, I, never asked where you live?”

”David, silly man, we are neighbors. You live on Commonwealth, I saw on your account, I live with my parents on Woodleigh.”

”Good Lord, all this time you were my neighbor, and I never saw you, I am going to die,” I said.

”Don’t do that, we are just getting to know each other, I want to know more, thank you for inviting me,” she said. ”David, this is the most exciting night I remember, I will never forget it.”

”Marisa, it is I, who will never forget this night, this day, being with you. I care for you in a way I cannot explain at this time, but the time will come when I can say what is in my heart,” I said.

”David, you do not have to say anything, I understand you, for now just put your arm around me, hold me and dream,” she said.

I drove slowly not wanting this time together to end, thinking where do we go from here? Here I am with the first person in my life that I really want to be with, not just out of passion, but one I can share my dreams, my interests, my desires, and hers.

”Marisa, do you have your own phone line at home?” I asked.

”Yes, I do in my bedroom,” she said.

”Please give me the number I really must talk to you,” I said.

”Here David, I wrote it on this napkin. Drop me off at the top of the drive. I don’t want Dad to come out now. Call me!” she said.

Tonight I have many questions, the most pressing is life. When I was twelve years old, I began to learn how to find truth, not from reading, but from listening, not the words of man, but understanding from above. Whatever my questions or concerns, when I lay my head down at night, I cleared my mind of the garbage that had been implanted this day, and asked for the answer. I knew not who I was asking, I knew the answer would come to me.  Awaking in the morning I understood, I had my answer. We are all connected to this same power, some call it ”common sense”, I call it universal intelligence. The scriptures record it is available for all who seek to understand and gain wisdom, here is the key. It is written that every word from the mouth of man is recorded. From the beginning of time, all is recorded in a matrix of data in the universe. Where?  I do not know, that does not matter. The only thing that matters is that it is, and it is accessible to those who seek. What I seek is my destiny, what was I put on this earth to accomplish? God places doors for us to open, if we do not see those doors, we are lost, like a ship at sea with no rudder.

Most men and women think they know everything, so why should they seek anything?  Well, tonight I had the answer to two of my questions, the first was to have patience, the second was how to find a new factory to move into. I walked up the stairs to my office at 6:30 am Monday morning before any of my employees arrived and wrote a letter to the owner of this building I had leased from him.

Dear Mr. Abrams:

This letter is to inform you of my cancellation of the lease entered into with you for these premises. As you are fully aware of the conditions that exist in this neighborhood are not conducive to operating a business such as mine. During the time we have been here there have been nine (9) burglaries, one (1) armed robbery in which one of my employees was beaten and severely injured, I was shot at and fortunate to be here now.

There is a legal requirement for full disclosure when you enter into a lease agreement. You were aware of these pre-existing conditions and failed to disclose them to me. I have been in touch with your insurance agent who canceled your insurance due to these conditions. I am enclosing the lease payment for the coming month and consider that to be the termination of this lease.  In the event you do not accept this and choose to attempt to hold me to the terms of this agreement, I will file an action for all damages caused to Vantage Industries as a result of your willful failure to disclose the danger that existed in this area.


David Donaldson


Vantage Industries, Inc.

That will conclude this, now to find a suitable location. I put in a phone call to every one of my vendors, including those who sell machinery to let them know I was looking for new facilities. Two days later, I received a call from a man by the name of Simon, he said he owned a laundry property, the building is 18,000 square feet and the land is 80,000 sq. ft.

”Will you be interested?” he asked.

”Simon, yes, very interested, when can I see it?” I said.

”How about today?” he replied.

”Give me a time and address, I will be there,” I told him.

”Come at 11:00, then you can buy my lunch, come to San Fernando Road, you know where the Van De Kamp bakery is on Fletcher Drive?’ ‘he asked.

”Sure, close to my house,” I said.

”Good, go 3 blocks toward Glendale on the right hand side, you cannot miss the big two story brick building, see you then,” he told me.

Cindy, come in please. Mr. D. What are you so happy about this morning, that is a big smile I see? Cindy, everything, everything, first happy you are here helping me, you are appreciated. I am happy for the new contract with Northrup, the new banking arrangements I made with City National, and we are going to get out of this shit building. OH wow, when are we moving? Soon, very soon, I am leaving now to look over a property that was offered to me. It’s in the Glendale area, a very nice neighborhood; hey it’s close to where you live in Eagle Rock. Can I go with you? No Cindy, I need you here, please write up this order for Northrup, have Juan check inventory, order whatever we need. This is a Rush, I promised delivery by Thursday. I will be having lunch with the building owner, and be back by 1:00 latest.

Finding the building was no problem. It is the largest building on the street, I saw a new Cadillac parked in front and knew that it would be Simon, I came early but he was earlier, we are both anxious. Let him be the most anxious that way it will be easier to negotiate terms.

”HI Simon, David Donaldson, great looking building; how long  have you owned it?” I asked.

”Hi David, it’s nice to meet you. For many years, I used to operate one of my laundries here for twenty years. I made a lot of money here, you can too. Come on in, look around. Hope you got a check with you,” Simon said.

”Check, I never pay with check only cash, is that OK?” I said.

”Cash yes, that way don’t pay taxes, spend it on the ladies,” he said.

”Simon you still chasing ladies?” I asked.

”David, the gray hair does not mean it does not work, but I don’t chase, they chase me. When you are old and rich, lots of ladies are looking for a nest,” he said.

”Come on Simon, no more bull, show me around,” I told him.

”I see that big boiler in the rear does it work?” I asked.

”You got a maintenance guy who knows boilers?” he asked.

”No, I have to call Ray at Pacific when I need help, but he is good,” I said.

”If you are going to fire up this big baby you need a man on site, but that is your choice. Start in the back; we have a gated area where your trucks can unload to sort the linens. The crane system over-head for bags works, it might take a little clean up. The boiler room is over here, there are lots of parts in the cabinets you can have. Walk outside, here is our water softener system. It can handle 80,000 lbs. per day, you can add another tank if needed. We have our own gas pumps here with a 10,000 gallon underground tank, why pay those pricks at the stations $1.09 a gallon you can buy direct from Richfield for .60 cents. This property is half in LA, half in Glendale so neither of those pricks knows whose regulations prevail. We fought with them for years, never losing. Let me show you upstairs,” Simon said.

”I used to have an office there, a big window looking out over the plant. The workers knew Simon was watching so they kept busy,” he said.

”Simon, I like the building, what do you want?” I asked.

”David, let’s go to lunch, I like Algemacs up the street, good food and cheap,” he replied.

”Simon, which is best, good food or cheap food?” I asked.

”I like them either the same, don’t be a smart ass or I will up the price. David, I ate here every day for twenty years, oatmeal and toast gives you energy that is all you need. I want you to do the same, with your brains and energy you will be able to pay the rent on time,” he responded.

We entered Algemacs, I see why Simon came here, almost out of another time and place, the staff was cordial, the service rapid, the food quite good, the coffee was from Farmers, it’s great. What more could I want at 6:00 am?

”David, I do not want to have someone in my building for less than 10 years, are you comfortable for that lease term?” he asked.

”Sure Simon, but I would like an option to purchase it also,” I said.

”How much would you pay to purchase?” he asked.

”Not sure, but we can have it appraised then agree to a certain appreciation each year, then when I exercise the option the price is determined,” I replied.

”How much appreciation?” he asked.

”Whatever is fair, the appraisers can give us appreciation over the past 5 years how about we use that?” I said.

”That sounds good, now how much will you pay in rent?” he asked.

”Rents are going for .20 per foot, so you say it is 18000 square feet, rent should be $3600.00 per month, it will take me 2 months to get moved and all the machinery installed, how about you give me the first two months free to allow fix up, we start the rent in October?” I replied.

”David, can you give me $7200 cash today?” he asked.

”Yes I can and will,” I said.

”Then it is a deal, I will bring the lease back here at 4:00 pm, you bring the money, you get the keys today,” he said.

”Simon, you are a good man, we will be great friends, you can teach me a lot; see you at 4:00,” I told him.

Simon drove away. I sat there for a few minutes in silence. All I could think of was thank you, thank you to the Creator who has given me such blessings. My dreams are coming to fruition. I stopped at City National, stamped my Corporate Seal on the documents, told Arthur, I have found and secured the lease on my new factory. Thank you again Arthur, see you soon. Cindy and all my staff were elated to hear the good news about our new home. I told them we will all go visit the site tomorrow and have lunch. Now I have to meet Simon and sign the lease, then it is ours. I will see you in the morning, take care of everything. Fortunately, I still have the cash from Wells to give to Simon, who was waiting at the front door when I drove up.

”David, good, right on time, I like that, means you are a serious man, come upstairs, the lease is prepared. Read it over carefully because once we sign there is no changing it,”  he said.

”Simon, there are two paragraphs I do not agree with, 21 and 37,” I said.

”OK, just cross them out and initial it, I will agree,” he said.

”The only thing that will be added is the option clause, we have to have the appraisal first, but we can indicate the agreement terms and then make a note of the addendum,”Simon said.

”David, you need to sign and initial each page, I will also. There done, where is my money?” he asked.

”Money? You said I have credit with you,” I said.

”David, you are a funny guy, I see that wad in your pocket, give it,” Simon said.

”I watched his eyes as he counted out the pile of hundred dollar bills, seventy two, very good David, here are your keys, to your health and success,” he toasted.

”Simon, ‘le heim’, please come see me as we set up, any advice you give will be appreciated,” I said.

I want to see how long it takes to get to my house from here. Fourteen minutes later I was driving down Commonwealth Ave to my house. This move will save me at least one and a half hours’ drive each way every day.  What I truly want is to phone Marisa, tell her all the good news; she should be home by now.

”Hello, dear, no dearest Marisa,” I said.

”Hi David, I just got home, where are you?  David, my parents are going to Boston on Friday, they have a cottage on the Cape, they will be away for two weeks, they asked me to go with them, I must work,” I said.

”Marisa, I will phone you tomorrow, I want to show you my new factory, just secured it today, ‘till then my dearest’,” I said.

”Come on Cindy, have Lupe answer the phones, you, Juan, Rogelio are going to lunch , we are seeing our new home,” I said.

”Muy Grande, Mr. D this is amazing, we can do lots of business here, bonito. When do we move?  Boss, this is a nice neighborhood, lots of Spanish girls can work here,” Juan said.

”Yes, Juan we are going to expand into many other fields also,”I said.

The next couple of days went perfect, the new Northrup account was installed on time, everyone was happy. Ray called to thank me and increase their order. I received a foolish letter from Abrams, saying his attorney said I must continue to pay him rent until he can find a new tenant. I replied saying if he or his attorney desires to get in a pissing match, please direct all further communication with our attorneys at Latham and Watkins. The mention of that name means he must spend more than he will want to play games with me.  Prince is jumping around like a lonesome child, so I let him come into the house with me. Ah, the blessing of silence, and peace. First a glass of wine, then a phone to call Marisa.

”Hi David, I knew you would call, I am all alone,” Marisa said.

”So am I, don’t know what to do, have any ideas, dearest one?” I said.

”You might come by and pick me up in about thirty minutes; I am going to bathe, see you dear,” she said.

”Dear, now I am dear, I love it. I will be there in twenty to help dry your hair,” I told her.

”David, I don’t need help, bring some good wine,” she said.

A quick shower, shave, change into some casual cotton pants and polo shirt, slipped on my loafers, grabbed a bottle of Raymond Chardonnay, away I went, not to grandma’s house, but to see an angel. Parking at the rear of her house seems like the best idea, neighbors can be nosy, I am sure her mother has friends watching the house, I would. The door is open so I walked into the kitchen, found an opener and poured us each a glass of this fine wine. The house is two stories, I hear Marisa singing upstairs.

”Beautiful voice, you sing like an angel dear, I yelled out. May I come up?” I asked.

”No, I will be down in five minutes if you wait in the family room,” she replied.

I would wait a year for the picture I was to behold coming down the stairs. She walked ever so slowly, each step a dramatic statement allowing me to absorb her beauty. Marisa had on a white long Mexican style dress; her hair was pulled high on her head, tied with a white silk ribbon. On her feet were white sandals with one inch heels, straps wrapping her ankle, long strands of pearls hung from her neck. Enchanted, I rose to greet her, taking her hand in mine, kissing those long delicate fingers. I found no words, could only stare into her eyes.

”David, say something, don’t just stare,” Marisa said.

”Words are not sufficient my dear, only my gaze can take in the feast my eyes behold,” I said.

”David, give me some wine, my you look nice and casual, where are you taking me?” she asked.

”To your castle my queen,” I said.

”David, are you always this funny?” she asked.

”Not funny, dearest Marisa, happy, cheerful and in love. First, we go for the finest appetizers to delight the palate and music for the soul,” I said.

”Where is this?” she asked.

”Be patient my love, I am, you must be also,” I said.

We drove in the entrance to the magnificent Huntington Hotel, one of the truly grand hotels in America, set on over fifty acres of the most prime real estate in the heart of Pasadena surrounded by gardens and lovely trees that would rival the Palace of Versailles.  The entire area is surrounded by old Pasadena grand estates. The valet took our car, we meandered into the lobby, walking down towards the dining rooms, however where I wanted us to be is in the den, a piano player is playing Gershwin tunes, the settees are large red velvet covered sofas, sitting behind elegant carved tables. Silently, a waiter appeared asking if we desired wine or champagne. This is an occasion, please bring us a bottle of Dom Perignon, some pate with hot bread, please.

There were three other couples enjoying their time, we all quickly exchanged greetings. ”I proposed a toast, the same toast Marisa said at the beach, ‘Dreams can come true. So keep dreaming and live well’.

”So, David, what brings you and Marisa here tonight, one of the fellows named Randall asked, he and Joan are on their honeymoon from New York?”

”Good food, music and delightful conversation, what more do you need?” I said.

”Only the money to pay for it,” Randall said.

”Touché, but money always comes to those who seek,” I said.

”David, those are true words, my wife Maggy, this beautiful lady, and I are from Boston, we came out to see if we wanted a second home in this area,” Richard Martinson said.

”Boston, my word, my parents left for Boston today, they have a house on the Cape,” Marisa said.

”Small world, you guys live in Pasadena?” Maggy asked.

”Close, we live in Flintridge, a suburb next door; it is only five miles from here,” I said.

”Flintridge, that is one of the areas, one our partners recommended, that, Pasadena, and Santa Barbara, David, I did not get your last name, ours is Martinson, Richard and Maggy. Our two sons James and Joseph are with Maggy’s mom in Boston. You two have any children?” Richard asked.

”Not yet, we must marry first at least in my faith,” I told him.

”Oh sorry, I assumed you were married, you look so together, like Maggy and I,” he said.

”That is what my toast said, ‘Dreams can come true’. Anything God desires will happen, so be it. Marisa has another semester before she graduates from SC, by then things will be ready,” I said.

”Marisa, what is your major?” Maggy asked.

”It is Sociology, Maggy.”

”How interesting, I was a history major at Dartmouth, but sociology was my love and still is. Oh my God I cannot wait to tell you about our trip to Greece. Marisa, I need to go to the restroom, care to join me?” Maggy asked.

”Marisa, you are stunning, how did you and David meet? Sorry, but I am interested in you both, he seems so confident, reminds me of Richard when I first met him, after two meetings, he asked me to marry him and I did,” she said.

”Really! On our first date David said he wanted to take me and marry me right then,” Marisa said.

”Dear, I need to hear all the details, are you guys having dinner here?” Maggy asked.

”I don’t know what David has in mind, he picked me up, said he was taking me to my castle, wherever that is,” she said.

”Marisa, is David a religious man?” Maggy asked.

”I don’t know if religious is appropriate, he loves God and wants God to love him,” Marisa said.

”Richard, I love Marisa, can we join them for dinner?” Maggy asked.

”Yes, if they invite us. I would enjoy that,” he replied.

”Richard, you said you wanted to see Flintridge, please come to my house have dinner and conversation with us, I guarantee you will enjoy, we will love your company, is that right Marisa?” I said.

”David, I would be overjoyed to be with these wonderful people,” she said.

“Splendid follow us, we will stop at a great little cafe, order some take out and feed the horses,” David said.

”Do you have horses, David?” Maggy asked.

”Yes, Maggy, do you ride?”

”I love to, what a wonderful day this is,” she said.

”Better yet, let’s go to the house where we can have delivery. Randall, nice meeting you, we wish you a happy life together, adios,” David said rising to leave.

We drove back to the house along Linda Vista so they could see the beauty of the area, down Flintridge Avenue to Commonwealth. We pulled into the driveway; Prince came running barking with joy, dad you’re home he was saying to me.

”Marisa, let’s eat out on the gazebo, help me set up, come on guys bring the wines, we will enjoy this lovely night. There are tablecloths and napkins in the buffet’s lower drawer. Richard, take four of these candlesticks out please, I will get the plates, silver and a wine bucket,” David said.

Within fifteen minutes the setting was perfect, as from a romantic film scene. As if on cue, the lights of the car bringing our feast showed on the driveway; please bring all back to the gazebo to set up Greg. Greg started a company, ‘Dinner is Served’, about two years ago, allowing people in the surrounding area to order dinners from any restaurant, his staff picks it up, delivers it hot and serves. All this for a fee of course, but the service is superb; I use him all the time. He knows I tip well that is why he came himself.

”My dear friends, may I say grace?” David asked.

”Yes, David, please, I knew there was something special about you,” Richard commented.

Our Heavenly Father, We come before you tonight with gratitude for your many blessings. I am blessed to have this wonderful couple with us; I am more blessed to have the one I truly love by my side at this time. In his Our Lord Jesus Christ’s name, Amen. Enjoy this meal, this night, and the company we have, salute!

Greg, the soup please, he served the soup telling each this is a cold cucumber delight, enjoy with garlic bread and this Chardonnay. Thanks, Greg, we will serve the rest ourselves, it is appreciated, and you have my card on file. Here is for the special service, I handed him a twenty.

‘Richard, you said your partners recommended this area to look at, who are your partners in California if I may ask?” I said.

”David, certainly, our company, Tech Investments, bought into a company, CSC, Computer Sciences, they are growing rapidly, we are looking for other such investments in California. Most of the aerospace and computer companies are headquartered here so it is natural to have a presence where the action is,” he said.

”Richard, is your background Wall Street?” I asked.

”No, David, I began as a lawyer from Yale; things just happened in my life, the best was meeting Maggy, having her accept me,” he said.

”Maggy, you started to tell me how you met Richard, now fill me in,” Marisa pleaded.

”Pour me some more wine first dear. My parents’ drug me off to DC to attend the Inauguration of President Kennedy, Richard was set as my escort by a friend of our family. Needless to say, we both were struck by the same wave. It was a most amazing night; everyone in Christendom was at the Mayflower hotel for the grand ball. We met President Kennedy, who knew Richard, he had personally invited him to attend, we went off and danced, and danced,

”Frank Sinatra came into the room as we danced and sang a song for us. Remember the song from My Fair Lady; ‘I could have danced all night’. That was the feeling we had, magical as if God meant us to be together. The next time we were together was around Christmas time in NYC; he took us to the most spectacular suite at the Plaza, then on to Winston’s and ordered me this ring. We married that night, not in a sanctioned ceremony, but before God we made our vows,” Maggy told her.

”Oh my God, that is the most romantic thing I can imagine, did your parents know?” she asked.

”No, Marisa, this was between us and God. The formal ceremony came the following summer, then off to Greece for our Odyssey,” Maggy said.

”Tell me, I simply must know the details, my dream has been to follow the journey of Odysseus,” Marisa said.

”Really, what a coincidence, that was our dream which we lived,” Maggy stated.

”David, this roast duck is fantastic, where did you get it,” Richard asked.

”My favorite restaurant in Pasadena, the best chef in the city,” I said.

”You must take us and introduce us before we leave,” Richard said.

”How long you going to be here?” David asked.

”Probably leave on Monday or Tuesday depending, we want to fly up to Santa Barbara to look around,” Richard said.

”Fly, I have a Cessna 182 sitting out at Burbank, I can fly you guys,” David said.

”David, this is too many coincidences, we have a Cessna 310 at Burbank, which is how we got here, how long have you been a pilot, David?” Richard asked.

”Three years now, I love to ski, so I bought a condo in Mammoth Lakes. It takes too long to drive so I bought a plane then learned how to fly,” I said.

”I love you, you sound like me. Open that red wine and it will accompany this duck, we will have dessert inside,” Richard said.

”First, tell us about Greece,” Marisa said.

”David, it’s getting chilly, let’s finish inside by the fire on that comfortable sofa, please,” Marisa said.

”OK my love, blow out the candles, bring the wine, inside we go. Go to your left, past the pool to the deck, there is an entry to the living room. Off with your shoes, no shoes inside this room, I will bring some pillows, another bottle of wine then we are ready to travel to the Greek Islands,” David said.

For the next two hours Marisa and I held hands listening intently as Maggy recalled every moment of their personal Odyssey. She only paused to drink a little wine, take a slice of the apples we had cut, She spoke with such passion, both Marisa and I felt as if we were there, Marisa was in tears.

”Marisa, why the tears my love?” David asked.

”I do not know David; her story just affects me somehow,”  she said.

”Richard, you are the ‘Sebontes’,” David declared.

”David, how in the world would you know that word and say that?” Richard demanded.

”I have many Greek customers; they own restaurants, one of them my good friend, George, told me to contact his friend Alexios, who owns Athens in Hollywood. I happened to be in the area one day, walked in and asked for Alexios. A large man came out and asked why you are here? I said a Greek friend told me to visit you. You are the ‘Sebontes’, Apostoles sent you?  No, Alexios, George from Studio City asked me to visit, I told him. Sit down David, you made my heart beat so fast I almost fainted, he said. I have been expecting a young man like you for several years now I thought you were him. When Maggy said the name Apostoles, it fit with what Alexios said,”  David replied.

”David, Marisa, our meeting was not by chance, this is impossible, God has a purpose for us to be together, we will learn what in due time. David, can we have some tea and the dessert you mentioned, we must rest tonight. Promise me, you will fly to Santa Barbara in the morning with us; we have a bungalow at the Biltmore. There is plenty of room for us all,” Richard requested.

”Marisa, you game?” David asked.

”Yes, dear, it sounds fun,” she said.

”Richard, we will be delighted to go with you, what time?” David asked.

”Let’s leave early, how about we pick you up at nine?” Richard said.

The dessert will be ready now, I had to heat it, you guys sit still I will bring it with a pot of tea.

”Marisa, David is very lucky to have found you, you are special, I can tell he is committed to you,” Maggy said.

”Thank you, Maggy; I do love him so, kind of scary how things work out,” she said.

”Trust your heart dear, that is what is real, the rest is an illusion,” Maggy said.

”Thank you both for the wonderful meal and hospitality, see you in the morning,” Richard said as he hugged us both.

”David, thank you for this night, I could not imagine a better time with nicer people. You and Richard seem to be somehow joined, what was that about the Sebontes?” Marisa asked.

”In Greek, Sebontes, refers to, ”The Worshipful Ones” kind of like someone who is sent by God,” I said.

”How do you know that?” she asked.

”Because I was curious when Alexios asked me if I was him, I saw how it affected him, so I looked it up. There is much more about Richard and Maggy’s trip than we understand at this time,” I said.

”David, I think we were meant to meet them, there is a reason for that we will find out. Now, I cannot wait till tomorrow to hear more, I love Maggy, she is so intelligent, so beautiful and real, not pretentious as one coming from a family of great wealth,”  Marisa said.

”Dearest Marisa, you are describing yourself do you realize it?” I said.

”Oh David, I do love you.please take me home, pick me up at 8:00 am so we can have breakfast together,” Marisa asked.

It was 11:50 pm when I drove Marisa home, we both desired to be together this night, but it is not right yet. We could only hold, kiss and dream.

Saturday morning the glorious sun rose at 5:45 am adding its beauty to the love I feel in my heart. The horses are calling me, they are forever hungry, which is good, means they are in good health and content, same with Prince, I had let him sleep with me last night because I have not given him enough attention, I do not want him to get jealous of Marisa. Come my boys, I called; both Adobe and Racine were ready to run, kicking up their heels like young boys at play. Today, you both get extra sweet feed, I will be gone tonight so here is extra feed, don’t gorge yourself.

Time, that strange unknown force goes slow when you want it to speed up, then rapidly when you want it to slow down. I could not wait for 8:00 and left at 7:30 to pick up my love, my life. Marisa as I was ready to go, she came out of the door the moment I pulled in the driveway carrying a small overnight bag.

”Good morning my beautiful love, I waited for hours to see you,” I said.

”David, you say the silliest things, do I look alright?” she asked.

”Look alright? No, you look sensational as always, you are a feast for my senses, my soul sings when you are near, listen to it, put your head on my chest,” I said.

”Come on silly; let me fix breakfast, should we make something for them?” Marisa asked.

”We can make it, but they will most likely have had breakfast at the hotel,” I said.

”What should I make?” she asked.

”Whatever you like, pancakes for me and Richard, some sausage with boiled eggs, I will chop some fruit, make the coffee. That will hold us until the Biltmore, have you been there?” I said.

”Yes David, I was at a friend’s wedding there, but I do not want mine there, it must be someplace special,” she said.

”It will be extraordinary my dear, that I promise,” I said.

”David, you have not hugged me this morning, come here my love,” she said.

”Now! I am your love?” I asked.

”Yes, let me show you big boy,” she said.

”Marisa, my heart will explode, my stomach cannot wait, let’s eat before I forget my vows,” I said.

”What vows, you did not tell me?” she asked.

”My vow to wait until it is proper to be with you,” I said.

”Thank you love, I know what you mean, I appreciate it, you have honor, I know you truly love me not just my body,” she said.

”I love both, body and soul my darling,” I said.

”David, they are here. I see their car pull in, go to the door,” Marisa said.

”Good morning Maggy, you cannot know how I missed you last night,” Marisa spoke out.

The girls hugged and kissed like long-lost sisters.

”Come dearest we are making your breakfast, did you eat yet?” Marisa asked.

”No, little sis, we wanted to be with you,” Maggy said.

”Maggy, I never had a sister, even though I always wanted one, now I feel I found my sister,” Marisa said.

”Marisa, my sweet, I am that sister,  let the men feed us. We deserve their attention,” Maggy said.

”David, can we dine on that rear patio?” Maggy asked.

”Go, little ones, we bring your feast, then you shall give us ours, fair?” David said.

”Richard, looks like we are assigned to cook, never mind I enjoy it. If you do the pancakes, I will do the eggs and sausage. The fruit is ready; I will take it out to our ladies with juice from our trees,” David said.

”Maggy, David really loves you guys, he thinks God meant us to meet, so do I,” Marisa said.

”Wow, I think the same, I told Richard we seem connected somehow. Here the men come, look pretty,” Maggy said.

”How do you do that?” Marisa asked.

”Come on girl, your mama taught you something or else you could not look so fascinating,” Maggy told her.

”Fascinating? I love it, you are so dear,” Marisa said.

”Dear ladies, enjoy the fruits of our labor for you,”  David said with a smile.

”David, you remind me of a poet I once knew, sitting beside you now, Richard, The Bard.  Lord, you two are so alike. Marisa, do not let this man go, he is a keeper,” Maggy said.

”I do not intend to Maggy, never.”  Marisa said.

”Richard, what airplane are we taking, mine or yours?” David asked.

”David, have you flown a twin?” Richard asked.

”No, I am taking my multi engine now,” I said.

”You fly in the right seat then. Everyone in?” Richard said.

”David, call ground for the runway,” he said.

Ground control, this is twin Cessna 99Zulu ready to depart. We received a clearance on runway 15, for immediate departure.

”Smooth trip girls, get your bag, I will go fetch us a car,” Richard said.

”Yes, boss, yes boss,” Maggy teased.

”David, you know how to get to get to the Biltmore?” Richard asked.

”Yes, just go south past town, then follow Cabrillo Drive, it is about 15 miles down to Montecito,” I said.

”Why don’t you drive, Maggy and I can look around?” Richard asked.

”Sure, do you want to go directly to the resort or look around Montecito, that is the best area up here, town is not much,” I said.

”David, how about we go to the hotel, I would like to swim in the pool, have some sun relax a while?” Maggy asked.

”I like that also,” Marisa chimed in.

Not much to the town, the beaches are nice if you like the view of offshore oil wells. We are in Montecito now, much nicer, they have large Mediterranean estates here, like Pasadena and Flintridge, but on the Ocean. Here is The Biltmore, looks kind of like the Huntington with a view of the sea, very lovely, did you say we have a bungalow, Marisa asked?

”David, Marisa, this will be your room is this OK?” Richard said.

”Looks great Richard, we will be out in a few.” David replied.

”David, there is only one bed in here,” Marisa said.

”We only need one, it is Queen size, looks comfortable, here jump on,” I said.

”I love it, dearest remember your vows,” Marisa said.

”My dearest one, I would never forget, you are much too important to me, I would never take advantage of you,” I said.

”David my love, it is not you I am worried about,” she said.

”Go change, I cannot wait to see you in a bikini,” I said.

”How do you know I brought a bikini?” she asked.

”Good guess, there are robes in the bath, throw one out to me, please. Wow, keep the robe on dear or every man in the hotel will be chasing after you, I don’t feel like fighting,” David said.

”Don’t be silly, how do I look?” she asked.

”Ravishing, my dear,” I said.

”Richard, the room is perfect, thank you,” Marisa said as she hugged him.

”Hey baby, that’s my man, you have your own,” Maggy laughed, happy to have someone to play with.

The pool attendant brought towels then set up 4 chaise lounges for us, do you want anything to drink he asked? Yes, a pitcher of iced tea, ask them to make it with a mix of green and jasmine, please, Maggy requested. Marisa, are you going to jump in or sit here and bake? Come on, Maggy pleaded. We all played in the water for an hour, then the desire for ice tea overcame us. Oh, that is so good, I feel renewed.

”Maggy, as beautiful as you are, I doubt you need to renew anything,” David said..

”David, I want to ask you a question, if it is too personal, I will understand,” Richard said.

”Shoot Richard; there is nothing between us too personal,” I said.

”Are you a religious man?” he asked.

”Depends on your definition of religious, I never cared for that word myself as it says nothing. Religion is a word to describe what? In the scripture, religion is only found I believe two times, neither time indicated any form of practice or belief. Religion is man’s design to keep people under control. So, I am not religious. I am simply a man who believes in God the Creator of all and Jesus Christ his son sent to earth to show us the path to salvation.’ David said.

”So what is the path you see?” he asked.

”It is the narrow path that few will pass. I prefer to follow the teachings of Christ; he said ‘my father does not reside in a house built by man’. To my thinking that is concise as he stated, he resides in those who love him.  There is the big rub most do not understand, love that tangled word, which is thrown around like leaves in the wind. Christ describes love in this manner, ‘If you love me do as I say’,” David replied.

”I understand, but what is the narrow path you refer to?” he asked.

”This is going far out there, I have had this conversation with several Pastors who cannot grasp what I am saying, too difficult to preach, most don’t want this kind of commitment. Richard, did you play sports in school?” David said.

”Yes, in High School and two years at Duke, I played football,” Richard said.

”Good, then you will understand me some; I also played football, every team I was on each candidate had to be tested; only the best, those who were dedicated could play on a varsity team. Now, what team is more important, a school team or God’s team? That would indicate a more thorough testing will take place, I believe this life is our test, Christ said, the road is narrow and few will pass. The key is found later when Christ tells his disciples, ‘In my father’s house are many mansions’. I believe his meaning is this; his team will fill those mansions, therefore only the best, those that endure to the end will pass through that gate. If you love me, do as I say,” I said.

”David, I asked if you were religious, never expecting an answer so compelling. You care, don’t you?” he said.

”Very much, Richard, very much,” I said.

”Girls, if you would  like to go to the salon to do your hair? Go ahead, I wish to talk more to David, meet us here and we will have lunch. David, walk on the beach with me, I need to reflect on all you said it fascinates me. My father is a Methodist pastor who now is part of the General Conference, in all my years I never heard anyone simplify life as you just did. Let me ask this, please, the way you speak, the thoughts you express do not seem to be from one who only wants to build a business to make money, what dreams do you have, that you can share? I recall the toast you made, dreams can come true,” Richard said.

”Richard, to be honest with you, the only dream I now have is to marry Marisa, then I will be able to do whatever God has destined for me, he leads, I follow,” I said.

”David, please understand, you will know more tonight when we can speak, but I see something, a big event that involves you and I, just a feeling, but we both understand that our meeting is not by chance, but the hand of God moving upon us,” he said. ”You studied law but changed your major before graduating, why David?”

”Life got in the way, every turn in our life, every choice has an effect, like the current in a river, once caught up in that current it determines where you go,” I said.

”David, do you believe that God directs your life?” he asked.

”No, he merely opens doors, it is up to you to enter or not, if you do not see the door, you are lost. Faith is listening to your heart speak, we all instinctively know right from wrong, but man is capable of rationalization, he can create his own, right. What he is doing is listening to the wrong voice, one that compels him to go against what he knows as truth.  The truth is we must go get our ladies before someone leads them astray,” I said.

”David, you jest,” he said.

”Yes, life needs levity there is enough drama every day to deal with,” I said.

Marisa was only then walking to the pool area wearing her robe, looking like a star in the heavens lighting up my world.

”Dear one, I miss you when you are gone but an hour, our time together is so precious I do not want to miss a minute. Let’s have lunch, is Maggy finished?” David asked.

”Yes, dear, she went to put a cover-up on, here she comes,” Marisa said.

”David, we can dine on the patio here under this tree, is that OK with you?” Marisa asked.

”My, you look lovely Maggy, more beautiful every second, how did Richard find such a treasure?” David asked.

”He was lucky, but so am I, so are you, David, Marisa is a rose among the thorns,” she said.

Our server asked if we desired some wine. I would like a mimosa, how about you Marisa?

”Make it four, Richard called out; bring us some boiled shrimp to start, please. I had a long conversation with David. My mind is still trying to grasp the wisdom he spoke along with the understanding of God’s words. Please, dear ladies, there is one more thing I wish to speak of with David, I do not mean to be so serious, is this alright with you both?” Richard asked.

”We are serious women, partners in the journey of life my love,” Maggy replied.

”David, you spoke of the test, trial if I may of life, which seemed to indicate that there is life and purpose after death,” he asked.

”First, a toast; Salute to you and Maggy, our lives have changed since we met, I love you both,” David said.

”The same to you and Marisa, we love you also,” Richard said.

”Here is my understanding of life after death?  No, I do not believe in life after death,” David said.

”OH my God, then you don’t believe in God’s word,” Maggy almost shouted.

”Dear one, hear me out, I had not concluded. I do not believe in death, only life,” I said.

”How so David? Richard asked.”

”Which is you the child of God, is it your physical body, the shell or your spiritual soul?  God as spirit does not die; we as spirit do not die; only the shell is discarded much as the crab can discard his shell to seek a new one. When Christ speaks of eternal life or eternal damnation, he is telling us, do as I say, be on my team and have eternal life. I do not believe this means existing or not existing, it means as he said, life.”

”What is life? Is it existing or living? Is the drunken bum on the street living? No, he simply exists, that is not life. Life is what we have now, right here, loving, enjoying each other and the blessings God has provided, that is life. I believe that is what he is saying. Death is the opposite of life; it has to exist in the same or worse conditions for eternity as the bums on the street, who in their right mind would desire that? Because, most do not hear, or understand the word, it is not taught in most churches, many are lost or succumb to temptation. Did not Christ say; ‘Lead me not unto temptation, but deliver me from evil’. Nothing is like it seems my dearest friends and my love. The wonderful thing is that all life is simple, follow the rules. In the Old Testament under the Law, it was direct, follow the laws. Christ did not alter the law, he merely condensed it. Now, let us dine, enough serious talk, it is time for love and fun,” David said.

”Dearest Maggy, I do not want to look around Santa Barbara for a house, if we are going to have a second home in California, I wish to live near David and Marisa, our new family,” Richard stated.

”Oh Richard, I am so glad you said that, I feel the same, Marisa is my sister who I cannot live without, David is the brother I never had,” Maggy said.

Then it is settled, we will spend this day and night in leisure, loving and growing together, no cares today or tomorrow.

”Maggy, please tell me more about your trip to Greece, I must know,” Marisa pleaded.

”First, another mimosa and our food, I am famished. We will talk about that in our bungalow with a bottle of Ouzo to set the mood,” Maggy said.”Now, Marisa has me thinking Greek, order me some fish like Soros prepared, please honey.”

”Sounds good, you guys up for some Greek style soup and fish?” Richard asked.

Our server came on my beckoning; please ask the chef if he will prepare us a Greek feast, some soup, flatbreads, and then fish prepared as the Greeks, please. Within ten minutes out came the Chef, a large Greek looking individual with happy eyes.

”Where are the Greeks?” Chef asked.

”Hi Chef, I am Richard, my wife Maggy, our family David and Marisa, we are the Greeks. We took a journey to follow the path of the King Odysseus, we dined with his family,” I said.

”Who did you see and where?” Chef wanted to know.

”Apostolos, in Kefalonia,” Richard said.

”Dear God, you are them, ‘The Sebontes’!  Let me prepare the feast, are you staying at the hotel?” Chef asked.

”Yes, in the Bungalow,” Richard said.

May I come and see you tonight? I bring food and Ouzo for us. He went around the table kissing each other as if we were his family from his homeland.

What a touching incredible day this is.

”Marisa, you see what you have begun, the Greeks will never leave you alone, you are their family now. I doubt when you met David you dreamed your life would become so involved?” Richard said.

”No, I did not,” Marisa cried, tears running down her face.

”Marisa honey, why the tears, come here baby?”  I asked.  I took her in my arms, she sobbed heavily.

”David, I don’t know, all this is so wonderful, so mysterious, it frightens me how I feel, may we go to our room now?” Marisa asked.

”Guys we will be right back, Marisa wants to freshen up,” I said.

”David, lay with me for a moment, put your arms around me, is this all real, do you really love me this much?” Marisa asked.

”My darling, there is no way I can measure my love for you, other than to say, next to my love for God, it is you and only you, forever,” I said.

”My God, I only dreamed of being loved like this, but never believed it possible, I have never seen such love, such truth, such life as I see in you and these people who seem to be attached to you. I am afraid it is but a dream, I will wake and you are gone,” she said.

”My love, I will never be gone, you are in my soul, locked with this Golden Key only you can open,”  I told her.

We lay embraced, kissing each other with a passion I have never understood or experienced before now. Come my love, wash your face, let’s have our feast.  We returned as Chef was with the servers, laying out our feast, his eyes reflected the joy he felt with us. He is family now.

”Marisa, you look extraordinary, that smile would light the world, I see love in the air,” Maggy exclaimed.

”Oh Maggy, I love you so, kiss me and pinch me so I know this is real,” Marisa said.

Chef, brought out the glasses, small shot glasses, poured, first we toast, ‘To the Pilgrims’, he shouted, we downed the Ouzo, which blasted like fire water down our throats. Chef was like a father looking over his flock as he oversaw each serving and awaited the approval of his children. We were like little ones, happy, grateful for all this loving attention.  Chef, made one last toast, ‘To my family, do not stay away’, we downed Ouzo, which by now was mild.  We all hugged and kissed as family did, then went with great cheer to our nest. Maggy asked if we mind that she and Richard want to take a little nap. That sounds like a great idea. Knock, when you get up.

”Honey, hold me tight, this seems like a dream,” Maggy said.

”You are so correct, my love, more than a dream, I feel. Did you hear what David said, he said, ‘nothing is as it seems’. Those very words I said to you and everyone I know since the day I was twelve years of age, how is it that those words came from him here and now? We traveled 3000 miles to look in a mirror. When he speaks, it is as if he sees my thoughts or feels them, I know not which, but it is scary in a way,” Richard said.

”You scared; I do not for a moment believe that, Richard,” Maggy said.

”Honey, not that kind of scared, just the unknown hand of God moving in a way I do not yet understand. We had some very strange experiences in the last five years, but this might be the strangest. David speaks as a teacher, but does not know it, he only speaks words and thoughts that suddenly come to him. I doubt he has ever uttered such before. It is the gift of understanding, not knowledge as there is no knowledge I am aware of that equals what he said, yet I feel it is true. This man has a greater task before him than operating a business in LA, what it is I do not know, but it involves you and me,”  Richard said.

”Good morning princess, I said as Maggy came out, dressed looking as if she was going to meet the queen, God you are beautiful, Richard won the lottery,” David told her.

”No flattery David, we both won as have you. Where is Marisa, my sister?” she asked.

”Showering, she will be ready shortly,” I said.

We said adios to the Biltmore at precisely 7:15 am and touched down in Burbank at 9:17 am; from there it only took 35 minutes to arrive at my house. Prince was going nuts trying to enter the car. Wait boy, I will feed you. Food is not what he wanted, it was attention. The horses were calling and kicking on the fence gate, desperate to be fed, and say hello.

Animals can form loving bonds as can we. When I opened the garage door, they saw me and began pushing each other aside to get first love. Racine rubbed his face against my head then licked my ear, yes, my boy I love you, just then Adobe kicked Racine, saying get out of my way. I opened the gate laughing as both horses stood on their rear legs waving the hooves at me, come on food time boys.

”Marisa, help me with these crazy guys, they want to smell you. Both steeds gave Marisa the once over rubbing her arms with their face, pushing her back toward the barn. Be careful my love, these are stallions they love you,” David said.

”David, there are too many boys around here, why don’t you have mares, or at least a female dog?” Marisa asked.

Maggy and Richard stood by laughing at the scene before them. At last all are content, we can have our breakfast. Ladies, you make breakfast for us, Richard and I have some things to discuss, please. What do you want to eat?  Surprise us my love, we will be out by the pool.

”Richard, you asked me many questions, I answered all, now I have a few for you. I found it very troubling when Maggy said your life had been threatened, you were with Kennedy, you hold some information that powerful people are desperate to find. This is a lot to put my arms around, can I help you?” David asked.

”David, let me begin with a question? Are you political, do you follow politics?” Richard asked.

”Richard, I deal with Politics every morning and every evening, I clean the stalls of my horses, I pick up the leavings from my dog. That is Politics, it is all shit. I pick up horse shit and use it to fertilize my gardens and trees, which is the only value of horseshit. Every politician alive is full of horseshit, but not suitable even to put in the garden, no value whatsoever. Does that answer the question?”  I said.

”My Lord David, you are a passionate man. You have friends in Politics, don’t you?” he asked.

”I know and deal with people in politics, but do not consider them friends. Friends are special people as you and Maggy are to us. Friends are those you can share love with, no politician alive even understands what love is unless it is money, which they understand and love. OK my friend tell me your story, I am here to help,” I said.

”David, it all started in 1960, during summer break, I was in my second year at Duke. My father came to me with a letter, saying I had been accepted to Yale Law School and would begin there in the fall. I said I did not apply to Yale and have no desire for the law. He told me that a family friend, we call him Uncle Stan, had arranged this and was paying for it. This Uncle Stan is not an Uncle, but a friend of my father for many years. He was the head of a very large bank, I mean a very large Wall Street Bank with vast resources. Not only did he arrange for me to attend Yale Law, he provided me with a house in New Haven. The house was larger, grander than my family home, completely lavishly furnished. Why would a student need these surroundings?  Upon my registration, the Dean of the Law School asked to meet with me. He explained that Stan was a very important alumni of Yale Law; I would be given special attention. I was only 20 years old; can you imagine my discomfort and bewilderment?”

”The first week of classes, my Professor assigned the class a mock case; we were to write a paper on how to retain a family farm that a city was trying to seize by eminent domain. Reading the file given, I thought there was no way in the court system for this family to prevail; they were former slaves who had been granted property after the Civil War. I wrote the only way for this family to prevail would be public opinion turning against the City and developers, we would organize all the colored civil rights groups, Martin Luther King and many others, get the political campaign of Kennedy to speak out on behalf of the colored, I felt they would be willing as this was September 1960 during the height of the presidential campaign. Organize a mass rally in the City, bring in newspapers and TV from around the globe to cover the demonstration, the City would cave under this pressure. This was not as told a mock case, but a real case; it was assigned to me to lead,”

”This changed my life. I met with the Kennedys both Jack and Robert, they took me to the family compound in Hyannis Port to meet their father Joseph and the rest of the family. This was to be the first of several meetings. Let me go back to the serious beginning, it was at the Inauguration of President Kennedy, who had personally invited me and where I met my bride, Maggy Drexal, that the intrigue began. A woman and her escort came to my table, I was seated with the Drexal family, who are also a powerful Wall Street family. This lady came to see me. She said Jack told her to say hello as I was a special friend. This lady, named Mary Pinochet Meyer, then went to the table next to us where Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post among other publications was seated, they were friends. Mr. Drexal asked why I was speaking to this lady. Do I know her? I said no, never heard of her. Then why did she come to you, he asked?  She told me Jack, I suppose she meant The President, asked her to say hello. Richard, be careful, she is the ex-wife of Cord Meyer a high-ranking CIA official, a very dangerous man,”

”Later that evening a man came to meet Mr. Drexal; his name was McBundy, another very high CIA official who was to be named Kennedy’s National Security Adviser. Bundy turned to me asking how I knew Mary Meyer and why President Kennedy invited me a student to his inauguration. I told him I had helped him in some way in his campaign, I said I wrote a paper that helped him in the South. He asked me to bring that paper to him, gave me his card then left. Drexal was furious, what did Bundy want with you? He told me, never meet with him, do not answer any of his calls,” Richard said.  David, it turns out Mary Pinochet Meyer was having an affair with Kennedy, she held the secrets, the most vital secrets the CIA must keep away from Kennedy. Shortly after that my house in New Haven was broken into, later my office in Alexandria was broken into, my security people got a photo of the man, we, this would take weeks to explain, I will just provide highlights today, my security group ID this man as CIA working under Cord Meyer.  He believed Mary had passed a vital book, her diary to me, to give to the President, they would never allow that.”

”How did you a first year student at Yale law have a security team?”  I asked.

”David, as I said this story is too involved for today, the girls will be here soon, let me tell you the importance of this. I believe Jack Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were killed to prevent them from getting their hands on this book, which they could use to destroy many powerful families,” he said.

”Richard, do you have this book?” I asked.

”It has been placed where it will not be found until the time is right,” he said.

”Richard, you are right, this is too much to absorb at this time, we will keep in touch, you can brief me how I can help. Are you or Maggy in any danger at this time?” I asked.

”No, they do not believe I hold this, they were told I am on their side,” he said.

”Who is their?” I asked.

”That will come later. Let us have breakfast then take us for a tour to look for a house near you,” Richard said.

Ladies, David is going to show us around the area, help us find a suitable property for our sons to thrive in.

”Richard, let’s take the Mustang, we can put the top down, girls in the back, boys in front,” I said.

”Why David?” Marisa asked.

”So we can look around and not be distracted by your beauty dear ladies,”I said.

The first thing to determine is location, Flintridge sits between two mountain ranges, from the tops down to the valley. So do you desire a home on the top with a view from the desert to the sea, or be in the flats as mine with views of the mountains with more flat usable land?

”Start at the top and work down,” Richard said.

Sure, we drove up Commonwealth to Flintridge Ave then up Highland to the top.

”David, the homes are lovely here, look at this view, is that the Rose Bowl over there?” Richard asked.

”Yes, the Bowl and golf course. Pasadena is the city to the right. The mountains to the front are the San Gabriel’s, it snows here in the winter at higher elevations, we have ski resorts less than an hour’s drive. The riding trails run through this entire area from the valley to the top of the mountains. That is JPL over there; they run our space program; they are affiliated with NASA and CalTech, which is over in Pasadena,” I said. ” If you are looking for brains to start up new tech businesses, CalTech brought us, Einstein. The schools have their own school district. It is the best in California, small, well-funded with local control. All of these houses are on at least 40,000 sq. ft. lots, which is the minimum allowed in Flintridge; some are up to six acres. My house is 1 and 3/4 acre.”

”David, I saw a property on the street you first turned on, was it Flintridge Ave?” Maggy asked.

”Yes, Maggy, which house,” I asked.

”I am not certain, but there were large iron gates and a drive that looked a half mile long,” Maggy said.

”I know that house and the lady, she is a widow, who lives there, I always wanted to buy the house, she told me she would not sell it while she is alive,” David replied

”That property is one of the six-acre ones, a grand Mediterranean estate, with tennis courts, stable area and eight-car garage, want to see it, she loves company, I stop by often when I am riding my horse to say hello?” David asked.

”Would she allow us in?” Maggy asked.

”Maggy, dear I said she knows me, sure she will,” I said.

”Does she have children?” Maggy asked.

”Yes, six if I recall, all grown with their own family,” David said.

”David, the gates are closed how do you call her?” Richard asked.

”We open the gates my dear and drive up. Richard, you open that side, these gates are at least 15 feet high and 10 feet wide each, bet they weigh over a ton apiece. Come my babe, this is one of her dogs, they love Prince,” David said.

Girls, come say hello to a grand lady.

”Hello momma, this is Marisa, I am Maggy, Richard’s wife. Thank you for letting us see this fantastic home,” Maggy said.

”Papa built it himself, Maggy back in twenty five. There were only five houses in the whole area when we came. Papa pitched a tent right up there, we stayed on weekends watching over the building, five boys and a girl, with papa and I crowded into that tent, but we were happy. My children were raised here.”

”I can see why you love it, the gardens are simply divine did he plant them?” Maggy asked.

”Yes, see over there, Papa had his own greenhouse, raised from seeds. Even with the hundreds of trees on the property, Papa never allowed a leaf to lay on the ground. He insisted it be like the floors in our house, clean, he needed four workers on staff at all times.You all go look around, the house is open, bring me those peaches.”

”Yes, Momma,” I said.

”Maggy, start here, walk over the bridge, this separates the Azaleas gardens from the Camellias,” David said.

”Dear Lord, Richard, there must be five hundred Azaleas and even more Camellias here. This is like a museum for flowers, I have never even in the public gardens seen such beauty, how could this be?” Maggy asked.

”See the water in the stream the bridge crosses, that is how, the water, also the love given by Papa. Follow the stream my dear friends, all the way down to the rear where it joins another stream, I told you this area is a natural Aquifer, this road leads from the entrance at the gates, forks to the garages or to the rear of the property. Over to the left are the tennis courts, all their children are accomplished players, the lawns are large enough to host a football game or an Olympic event. Papa did not approve of pools; he felt that people spread germs through water, which is why in the great house there are no tubs, only showers, 6 of them,” David said.

”Let’s go inside, David, is it OK?” Marisa asked.

”Momma said OK as long as I bring the peaches, we will later. We should begin at the entry of this marvelous estate; there is no other way to see its beauty. Enter, Momma told me she and Papa traveled to Italy to find the handmade tiles that you see. Even the lighting fixtures of solid bronze are imported. Every stone in the fireplaces were cut to order; they had an entire ship laden with materials to build this home. The ceiling in this room they call the music room is over 20 feet high, the entire structure is trimmed in solid gold leaf. Papa loved music; he had an organ room constructed with a pipe organ larger than the one in his church,” David said.

”David, I need to see no more, ask momma how we can or what we must pay to purchase this most incredible home, no price will be too high,” Richard said.

”You all stay here, let me speak to her. We must go now. I will let you know why at the house. Dear Momma, I will return in thirty minutes with your peaches,” David said.  ”Come on my loves, we must go to the house.”

”David, what is that all about,”  Maggy asked.

”Come dear help me pick some peaches I will tell you, first I need to take these to Momma. Marisa my love, please make some tea, I will be back soon Momma wants to talk to me alone,” David said.

When I returned Marisa, Maggy and Richard were sitting on the patio overlooking the pool, the property lights were on and the mood was festive. Hi my love, your knight returns.

”So, what was that all about?” Maggy asked.

”Your house, I said. Momma K, said she has directed in her will that no one, even family members may purchase or occupy her house after she departs this earth, except me. Do not ask me why, that is for her only, she is leaving soon, her words. She has told her sons to arrange for me to buy this house upon her departure. If you desire, I will purchase the property, then sell it to you, is that agreed?  If you do not agree I will buy it for me and Marisa,” I said.

”David, what is the price?” Richard asked.

”The price is not important, this property has no equal, I will pay whatever is asked,” I said.

”David, and my dearest sister, we must leave you now, we are flying back early in the morning, we have details to take care of,”  Richard said.

”Richard, Maggy, it has been such a joy to both of us being with you..” I said., I dread your leaving, when will we see you again?” David asked.

”Soon David, not sure, you know the pressure of business and children, their school will be starting soon, we will keep in touch. That is a promise. If you hear any word on that house or another similar call to us, we will fly right out, till then may God continue to bless you and grant your dream,” Richard said.

Marisa is in tears, come little sister don’t cry we love you; this is not goodbye, only ‘Au Revoir. Watching their car back out of the drive, I see that Maggy also has tears running down her face.

”David, my love, I need to go home now, my parents return tonight,” Marisa said.

”First our family leaves, now my only love leaves me, how can this be?” I asked.

”David, I know you jest, call me tomorrow, I love you madly,” she said.

Dropping off Marisa left me with mixed feelings, first anguish at seeing her walk into that house without me by her side, and great joy as I knew we would soon be together forever.


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