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SANTA'S PANHEAD: You may have heard it last night around midnight.

I had a dream last night. In it, I was once again a child of 10, back in Queens. It was Christmas Eve, and I'd prepared for the arrival of Santa, the way I always did, ever since I was but a wee snotnosed kid. On a piece of cardboard used in my parents' laundry as a backing for cleaned shirts ready to be folded and packed for customers to pick up, I drew a picture of Santa in his sleigh, pulled by his loyal reindeer. On this piece of cardboard, and under my wonderful drawing, I wrote these words in cursive writing, that was at that time---far more disciplined and readable than my handwriting is now:

Dear Santa:

Thank you for my presents. Here are some cookies I left for you.

In my dream, I was asleep in my house, which was a three story building In Jackson Heights that my parents bought in the 1930s. My parents' Chinese laundry was on the ground floor, and our apartment was on the second floor. The third floor apartment, we rented to the Spagnuolos. As was my custom when I was a kid, I would try to fight off sleep, so that I could hear Santa coming into our house. And, he'd hafta do it without the benefit of a chimney, because, well....we didn't have a chimney. How did he do it? We did have an air shaft between us and the Biondos next door, but then he'd have to rappel down the shaft. Nah, too treacherous. Besides, Santa's too fat for that type of activity. Hey, mebbe he had a lock pick set!

How else could he get into my house?

Okay, so logic would dictate, that Santa used a lock pick set to get into my house. Makes sense, right? Lissen up, if we're to believe that a fat man in a red and white uniform takes a bagload of stimulants one night a year, in order to deliver presents to all the kids in the world, then we should at least make a concession to common sense with respect to how he gets into people's houses, right? Yeah, a lock pick set, that's it. Hey, Maybe Santa works for the CIA too, on the side. Why not? he has a lot of free time. He only works one night a year, right?

So this got me to thinking in my dream. If Santa commits B & Es with lock picks, and works as a covert agent for the CIA, then maybe the stereotyped notions we foster about Santa, are all wrong! I mean, look at the way that we view Santa's wife, as a dowdy Aunt Bea type from the Andy Griffith Show. What if Mrs. Claus were totally different than our preconceived idea of her? Has anyone photographed Santa's wife? Do the archives of the newspapers of the world, hold any evidence of what Mrs. Claus actually looks like? The answer is, no.

Nothing like the popular stereotype.

Yeah, what if the Real Mrs. Claus wasn't keeping Santa warm up in the North Pole with hot chocolate, but by other means, ya know what I mean? It makes perfect sense ta me! Here's another thing to think about: what if Santa doesn't deliver presents to the world at large by reindeer power, but by horsepower? What if the delivery vehicle wasn't a rickety old Flexible Flyer on steroids, but a righteous 'ole Harley, instead, huh? What if the generator of that horsepower, was a Panhead motor? Ever think about that, man? No? Well, think about it! Then in my dream, I was barely awake, but awake enough to listen for a lock pick in our door. Then I heard it. The inimitable, thundering sound of straight pipes in the cold Queens air.....


Hey man, that was definitely not the whinnying (or whatever it is that reindeer do) of reindeer, but the sound of a stroked Panhead motor! Then I heard the squeal of Avon tires on Northern Boulevard in front of our house! Then....I woke up.

Santa workin' on his Panhead in his workshop.

I guess I'm still like that 10 year old boy in my dream, and that 10 year old boy 57 years ago in Queens. It has been said that bikers have never grown up, that we're addicted to our motorized toys, and that we're a classic case of arrested development. Hey, maybe there's a grain of truth to that. I still love the things that I loved when I was young: Harleys, Vettes and photography. I think that's a good thing. So, here's the moral of this Christmas Message: Never grow up. Actively cling to the mechanized things you love. Cherish that girl on two wheels, that righteous Harley that you've ridden all of your life, and go the distance with her. Because that makes every day like Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, Bros and Sisses!