We were at a restaurant or store or a hybrid of the two (like a Cracker Barrel or something similar) and an old fella looked at me and said, "PS, I love you, too." Freaked me out, of course. Not only was I 5, but I was somewhat shy. I was afraid of clowns in parades, for God's sake. Anyway, I didn't say anything and I honestly didn't get what he was talking about until my mom pointed to my t-shirt, which was emblazoned with a cartoon sun and declared "P.S. I love you."
It took me years to realize that the shirt meant Palm Springs, which is about 60 miles from the little town where I spent about 11 of my formative years (29 Palms). These days, it takes a high school reunion (only every decade or so) or a neophyte Los Angeleno friend to coax me to trek all the way to 29 Palms - I didn't love living there as a kid and I was thrilled when we moved far, far away to an island and then to Europe -- BUT I would buy another of those shirts in a heartbeat because I adore Palm Springs.
Even today, when it's in the 80s at 7 a.m. and threatens to be 115 degrees by midday, I love it. The clear skies, the lazy pool days (with just-the-right-temp pool water), the freezing A/C blast when you open the door to your hotel or condo... it's unbeatable. I love the way my kids look when they're asleep in the morning, tanned from the day before and incredibly relaxed from late-night moonlit walks or movie nights. I love it when my skin is flushed from a late afternoon pool & magazine session. I love the long poolside or balcony chats about nothing and everything, sometimes involving iced tea and other times involving an iced rum libation. I love the lulling hum of the cicadas. I love the bright full moon as we walk to our room from our friends', with a constantly changing combo of their kids and our kids in tow. I love that the kids can roam freely (together, always) around the grounds. I love that it's 8:30 in the morning and my sun tea is nearly brewed, even in the shade. I love the Estate Sale Consignment Store and the Parker Hotel... each of which are a mere few steps from our condo complex. I love my good friend Michael, who moved to Palm Springs a few years ago and makes my tug toward this desert oasis feel stronger than ever.
In short, Palm Springs loves me. And, like that groggy old dude in Colorado, I croak back in a hoarse whisper, "PS, I love you, too."