tommy in los angeles

Consider a mental image: I am riding in the passenger seat of Tommy’s pickup truck, driven by my teen-age son, on a Los Angeles night — a night like the boy himself, bright, full of expectation and promise. Los Angeles feels to me at that moment like a place where anything is possible, a city built on dreams.

Hollywood freeway at night, with downtown L.A. in the distance.

Hollywood freeway at night, with downtown L.A. in the distance.

 

Consider another image: Tommy and I are hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, a hot day on a dusty trail. Not another human being in sight. The trail climbs to a ridgeline, and as we reach the crest, the city comes into view, looms before us, silent and majestic in the distant sunshine. It is a synergistic moment, which seems to fuse the energy of the city with the peace and permanence of the mountains beneath our feet.

And one last image, the most poignant for me, like a waking dream: imagine a small boy running along a beach in Santa Monica. The scene is backlit by the Los Angeles twilight, hazy, luminous, like a painting, a water color in red and orange. Across that dreamy canvas the boy moves with vitality and joy as he races across the sand.

Tommy’s life started in Los Angeles, a place that helped form his character, a place that traveled with him wherever he went. I can’t think of Los Angeles without also thinking of Tommy. It was the first, and the last, place where he left his “footprints on the sands of time.”

LA sunset from San Dimas

LA sunset from San Dimas

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