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(I got voted off Survivor Island. sniff)

(unfortunately all photos for this entry were deleted in the Yahoo blitz)

December 10, 2000

As I drove into Sacramento, I was following a guy on a motorcycle, with a Santa hat taped to his helmet and a toy strapped to the back of the bike. I’d forgotten that today was Motorcycle Santa day in California. Motorcyclists from all over the state had ridden to the capitol to bring toys for Christmas presents for underprivileged children.

I went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. What a difference a year makes. Last year I couldn’t bear the thought of encountering Christmas head on. Paul hadn’t been gone all that long and his death brought the pain of David’s death back. I couldn’t handle the carolers or the decorations or the cheery greetings. I did most of my shopping on line or in local small stores.

Somehow this year it’s sort of OK again. There's a bit of holly in my heart again. I’m actually looking at decorations and appreciating them. I don't cringe at Christmas carols.

And I was thrilled to come across an orchestra in an open-air area of the mall, rehearsing for an upcoming performance. A small crowd had gathered to watch the rehearsal and I joined them.

Now this wasn’t your typical orchestra. This was about 100 tuba players. And trust me, you’ve never lived until you’ve heard 100 tubas doing a lilting rendition of "Jingle Bells." "Joy to the World" sounded like the entrance music to the parade of elephants at Barnum and Bailey. But I loved it. It was such fun. In the back of the group were three guys playing sousaphones (the sousaphones are the ones with the huge bell that faces forward). They obviously had been in marching bands because when the conductor struck up "Stars & Stripes Forever," they immediately started marching to the cadence, their knees coming up waist high and their toes pointed like Greg Louganis doing a back dive.

I completed my purchases with a far from inexpensive stop at the Warner Bros. store and, the bag being too large to carry comfortably, I decided to call it a day. I loaded the bags in the car, and headed back home, completely forgetting that I wanted to drive up to the Capitol to see what was going on with the motorcyclists. Before I’d crossed the bridge out of town, another group of cyclists passed me and I realized. Woops! I hung a quick right into Old Sacramento, a fortuitous stop. When I got to the main drag in Old Sac there were roughly a bazillion motorcycles. I’d found the Harley Happy Hunting Ground.

I found a parking space and got out to take some photos. There is just something so endearing about these grizled big leather-clad guys carrying teddy bears and EZ-Bake ovens on the back of their bikes to make some kid’s Christmas happy.

I took several photos as the cyclists stood there taking pictures of each other, and then they all started off, in small groups, in the direction of the capitol. I decided to head up that way myself. I found out if you ain’t got a cycle, you ain’t getting there. Roads were blocked off, allowing only the unending line of cyclists to pass. I took some photos, but was unable to capture the scope of the thing. I finally gave up on going to the capitol and once again headed for the J Street Bridge to head on home.

As I passed over the bridge, I glanced to my left god! Old Sacramento had only been the tip of the iceburg. There were roughly a pastabazillion cyclists on the other side of the bridge, all milling around waiting for their chance to drop their goodies off for the kids.

I made a u-turn (in honor of Pat, the Queen of U-Turns) in West Sacramento and went back yet again to Sacramento. This time I went in the other direction and once again was stopped at a stoplight while wave after wave of cyclists, carrying Snoopies, Tiggers, and Tweeties joined the Old Sacramento group and continued the assault on the capitol. A lot of kids are going to have a very happy Christmas, if these guys have any say in it.

Somehow it seemed appropriate to think that somewhere the tubas were huffing and puffing out a rendition of "Adeste Fideles."


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