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HERB BENHAM: The gift of being married to me

gift box Herb col

This Christmas, the best gift I can give my wife is my love.

Christmas comes up fast and once again I haven't gotten anybody anything, especially Sue. So instead of rushing around trying to buy her something, I've decided to write her a note:

"Dear Sue,

"I haven't gotten you anything for Christmas yet. I have an idea. How about we take this year off? We'll pick up the Christmas thread next year.

"I'd rather not make your life any more difficult than it is, so in case you've already bought me something, don't bother taking it back. You know how busy the stores are and how crazy it can be so let me take care of that. Take care of it or not in case I like the gift.

"I could give you a book with a bunch of coupons, promises of things I could do around the house but you know how coupons go. Coupons are like gift cards. There are probably a stack of them in your desk drawer you've forgotten to redeem and now they are out of date.

"How about we give each other the gift of our personalities, our spirit, our joy, but that's not an automatic either. It sounds good on a paper until it rains or doesn't rain, you feel good or you don't feel good and then personalities are better kept with the person who has a diminishing supply.

"We could take pressure off and roll the gift giving over to spring or summer but once June rolls around and it gets hot, nobody is thinking about Christmas presents.

"I just wanted to say that I am thinking about Christmas and you but that I'm probably not going to get you anything this year.

"Merry Christmas.

"See you next New Year's Eve under the mistletoe."


I drove a golf cart in Hawaii and I'd forgotten how much fun that is. Mom was sitting next to me and I decided to give her a thrill so I floored it and tried to put it up on two wheels while navigating a corner. At 15 mph, I didn't make it but she smiled anyway.

I see why people have golf carts in non-golfing environments. Tooling around your neighborhood, the wind whistling through your hair, feeling like a golf cart mogul. It doesn't get any better than that.


Heather Stanley emailed with some news.

"This is Andy Davidson's granddaughter, Heather. You spoke at my grandfather's funeral and have always been close to my family. As I am sure you are aware, my mom, Andrea Davidson Christiansen, passed away from ALS in June of 2019. I am saddened to tell you that my uncle, Bill Davidson, passed away tonight from myeloma. He was such a gentleman on and off the court, as was my grandfather. With my Uncle Bill's passing, it is the end of a family legacy in the Bakersfield tennis world that is arguably unrivaled.

"My grandparents, mom, and uncle learned and taught life lessons on the court at the Bakersfield Racquet Club to generations of players, including you, myself, my siblings, and hundreds of others. My uncle then took those life lessons and used them in his professional life dedicated to psychology.

"Thank you to you and your family for being such steadfast champions of my family. My grandparents, mom, and uncle were pinnacles of class and talent."

I agree. What a family. The best of Bakersfield and the best of Bakersfield plays well on a larger stage.


Dolly Hei, Shafter's finest, wrote in regards to the column about the pleasure of raking leaves:

"Really enjoyed this one. I relish any task that makes order out of chaos, and when the material is so pleasurable, all the better. It's not just the neat results of moving blankets of leaves off lawns, but the doing itself — the swing of the rake, the scent of damp leaves, the sound they make, the perfect climate for such a chore, a no-sweat-breaker time. Totally satisfying, along with quiet time for thoughts of the season and memories mulled and created. Thanks for adding our pleasure to yours."

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.