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Let's compare our lists of summertime house guests here in San Diego!

Blakely, my fourteen-year-old niece from Texas, is on the beach at La Jolla Shores as I speak, probably overhearing some surfer talk that will brighten her classmates' day back in Austin. Blakely's brother Matthew is with them...I think....if he and his new friend in Pacific Beach got back from the zoo in time. My wife Judith is the chief tour conductor today. My turn comes tomorrow. Matthew insists he can't return to Texas without seeing just one more Padres victory. Of course I'm a few days behind on my writing, but our visitors are happy.

And so, all across this sweet summertime in San Diego, we play host to friends and relatives. So far, at our house, we have had our airport pick-up runs all safely preassigned. No one has been cruel enough to suggest that next summer, it might be smoother for all of us if they just waited for their baggage and then hailed a cloud nine.We look forward to these seasonal visits, and of course we love seeing our relatives. The staff at the Convention and Visitors Bureau does too. They revel in seeing the tourist count rise from year to year.

I don't blame our friends and relatives for waiting until summer to visit us in San Diego. I myself wouldn't think of leaving San Diego to visit Texas in August.Last summer, we visited our favorite cousins from Virginia. their home and Thomas Jefferson's too...and one of the world's most splendid college towns. But of course when we were there, hot, muggy weather reminded me of the South I left behind. There was a campus swimming pool, I hadn't brought my swim trunks.The next day I walked past a sporting goods store with a half-price sale on men's trunks.

Our Virginia cousins saw me in my yellow trunks laughed out loud. Strange. In California, no one notices! On these summer beach weekends in San Diego, I wonder sometimes if the avalanche of summer guests is growing out of hand. But, no, it's just part of San Diego's success story. And then I remember kindnesses shown to us by strangers around the world, even in the hotspots of Beirut and Saigon. And then I'm ready to smile and direct the next lost tourist, even though he IS blocking my driveway.

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