Remember when all you wanted for Christmas was a bicycle?

My first one was a surprise three-speed “Raleigh” style – but not that brand name because my parents always would find a similar, obscure brand from the one all the other kids had – with “regular” handlebars, in  burgundy. I think I went right out to ride it in the snow that Christmas day – not for long – and don’t remember what happened to that bike; only that my last memory of it is that my dad – who apparently never learned to ride a bike (which is still amazing to me), took it for a ride to the corner, which was encouraged or dared by me and my mother – only to return it with the handlebars bent in some awkward way that made me cry like he had broken them.  My dad was a weightlifter strong WWII veteran; but how could he not know how to ride a bike??

A metallic-blue Pierce Arrow “Tour de France” 5-speed racer model with “bull” handlebars, replaced that one on Christmas Day 1969 and I’ll always remember the special feeling.  This was not a total surprise for me though, because mother took me to S. Bellitte & Sons to pick it out, so “Santa” would not bring the wrong one.  I must have waged quite a campaign for it.

Twenty-three years ago, my parents gave me a helmet for Christmas and I laughed; now I can’t imagine riding without it! Seven years ago, my boss at the time regifted a new Liberty bike given to him – to me at Christmastime – when he learned I cycle regularly. I tried to convince him to keep it and take up riding. “Nyet”, he said.

Now, I ask Santa for things like peace on Earth, a kind-but-firm President who is a true leader, in the ilk of John F. Kennedy; health for all of mankind; a cure for the virus and a vaccine that anaphylaxis vulnerable “allergy sufferers can actually take without it getting deathly ill; for my friends who have contracted the Covid plague to get well; to follow sage advices of mentors and loved ones no longer present and never be broke without hope again.  When I leave a Coca-Cola and some butter cookies out for Kris Kringle these days, instead of material possessions, philosophical and carnal passions are needed actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not become a total corny sellout, or “old” like our parents; still forever young! Instead, I have become more of a realist, when I’m not acting silly with parodies and rhymes to stay connected to my past or amuse myself which is one of the secrets to growth via personal, mental and loyal therapeutic exercise. I find myself saying “it could be worse” more often, and speaking of “exercise”… at the top of my Xmas wants is that I continue to appreciate the embodiment and the meaning of the procedural memory phrase, “its just like riding a bicycle!”  Come.