On Monday, December 9, I will turn 80 years old. To mark the occasion, I am going to assume the role of a Wise Old Man of the Mountain, and I invite you to make a unique pilgrimage to visit me in person, if you can.

Overlooking Santa Barbara is a range of populated hills we call the Riviera at the very top of which there is a lovely but little-visited public property called Franceschi Park (pronounced “Fran-chess-key”). That is where I will be waiting to greet you on my Eightieth Birthday, December 9, 2013, between 1 and 4 p.m. local time. (Dorothy will be there too, and since her 82nd birthday happens to be the previous day, this will be a shared event.)

In this beautiful setting, I will be freely dispensing Wisdom, in answer to your questions on any appropriate subject (one question per person, so please think carefully!) and in the form of personally signed Pot-Shots.

Once you find Franceschi Park, it will be easy to find me. Just follow the short road from the entrance, and you will soon come upon a spot with parking, benches, picnic tables, and other facilities. But the main attraction, (apart from this rare announced presence of yours truly) is a spectacular view out over the city and the sea toward the distant islands. Of course it can’t be guaranteed, but the weather in Santa Barbara, even in the depths of winter, is usually fabulous (as it is the day I’m writing this, December 1).

Since no RSVP is required, this will be something of a surprise party, with the surprise being just who will show up. (But it would, of course, be nice to know in advance, if you definitely intend to come.) Most of you receiving this message will, I realize sadly, be unable to attend. But you are all invited. And you are welcome to take any pictures or videos that I might later be able to send out to all the rest of you. Any potluck-style refreshments will also be welcome — at least enough to feed yourself!

(A few facts: The park is city-owned and closes at sunset. No alcohol is permitted. There is a large old house on the property, but this is not open to the public.)

You can find plenty of information online about Franceschi Park, Santa Barbara, and how to get there. (Unfortunately no public transit appears to go anywhere near. But it’s a wonderful walking area — in fact, it’s where I take many of my morning walks.) The important thing to note is that the park entrance is not on Mission Ridge Road, but on Franceschi Road (on the left going uphill after you turn off Mission Ridge Road).

Here is a Google map and some information on the park that might be helpful.

Looking forward!

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