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THE YEARS ROLL BY: A long strange trip.

Another year passes.

It seems like it was just yesterday, that I wrote "Thanksgiving Message 2012." That platitude about time going faster, the older we get, I can confirm at least anecdotally, to be true. Time seems to go so slowly, when we're young bikers, crawling at a snail's pace commensurate with an NYC traffic jam, accompanied by feelings of, "Man, when am I gonna get older so others will take me more seriously, and give me more respect?" I can remember feeling that when older bikers were brushing me off as just another rookie.

Yes, it does seem like yesterday, but the time continuum is in reality, the same for us, young or old. What influences the seeming speed or lack thereof of the passing of time, are the relative expectations and hopes of the people involved. One's age-related station in life, colors that person's perception of time. Younger people feel as they have a veritble limitless amount of time, enhanced by a feeling of invulnerability. Older people want that old sensation of "plenty of time" left, so that they can enjoy the moment, instead of contemplating the opposite. Older people want time to slow down. These are all natural human emotions, and are universal to all. Of course, I could tell myself that 66 is the "new 46," but that ain't true. It is what it is, man.

I've never personalized these Thanksgiving messages much. Instead, I always concentrated on themes revolving around the biker subculture, and from an historical perspective of the culture. Or I wrote the broader theme, of what it means to be a hardcore biker in America, and how this great country blesses bikers as patriots, thankful for what we have in this magnificent nation. As a demographic group, bikers love and appreciate America. We make no apologies for her, and see no reason for others to say "sorry" on behalf of our country. Like Obama does, which is evident in everything he does and says. Sorry don't feed the bulldog, mister.

Often, writers have a morbid and maudlin obsession with self: "Boo's what I've thankful, me, me, me, me..." As the Godfather would say after slapping such a finocchio....SLAP! SLAP!.... "ACT LIKE A MAN!" ...SLAP! However, at the risk of sounding as maudlin and self-serving as a oversensitive consumer on the other side of the salad bar (a salad bar with fern plants, natch), I'm going to hop and skip down this well trodden path of making a laundry list of things I'm thankful for, in this year of our Lord, 2013. So here we go. If you feel like retching, keep an emesis basin handy, or at least....a clear pathway to the porcelain altar.

I'm going to list my thanks, in the descending order of their importance. Not surprisingly, as is almost universal in such crying lists ("Would you like a cup of hot chocolate and a crying towel?"), number one would be my thanks that my wife Patty and I have our good health, and I guarantee you it ain't because of the scam known as Obamacare. Sure, we have our aches and pains and audibly creaky joints, and the changes in our bodies that are commensurate with aging, but that's to be expected, accepted and dealt with to the best of our ability without complaint. Number two thanks is related: I'm grateful for having my wonderful wife in my life, for she has given me love, understanding, and the ballast which only a compatible spouse can. The day I met Patty when she walked into my martial arts class in 1982, was the single most significant, fateful moment of my existence. Patty's gravity keeps me grounded. Without her, I'd float up into the stratosphere, as weightless and directionless as a cheap balloon filled with helium. I love you, Hon.

Before we get to the fun stuff that I'm thankful for (namely, my Harley and Chevy), I'm also grateful for reconnecting with my niece, Denise Biondo-Kees this year, who I call 'Nise, which just coincidentally rhymes with "niece" (I haven't seen 'Nise for 40 years). Yeah I know--I'm a poet and doan know it. Now, 'Nise is not a blood relative, but she's a loved niece as surely as if my blood brother was her dad. How this all came about in 2013, and why 'Nise reappearance in our lives, can be found in a previous article, "My Generation." 'Nise is extended family. Patty and I are "Aunt Patty and Uncle Scott" to 'Nise, whose dad Stevie Biondo---is like an older brother to me. He's been a mentor to me since I was 7 years old, particularly as an elder biker. If any of you tough bikers out there find this too sugary-sweet and need a healthy dose of insulin, too bad, man. Live with it, America.

Now for The Machines. First up, as she should be, is my Harley 74, Mabel. You've been reading about Mabel for the past 20 years, ever since I joined the staff of Iron Horse magazine in the early 1990s. Mabel, as most of you long time readers know, is my 1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide. If Mabel isn't the most famous Shovelhead, then she is at least the most mentioned Shovel in the world. Wotta persona she has! Starting as a kick-only first year FX, she's been transformed into an elegant, fire-breathing, 86 inch stroker of a girl. She has always been user-friendly. She does indeed, become better with age, like a fine wine. She keeps the biker spirit in me young---quite an accomplishment in a 45 year riding career. Riding never gets old. Yeah baby, keep on blasting your sweet and thunderous song of power, domination, joy and freedom. I'm thankful for thee, in this year of the Lord, 2013.

What people don't understand, and I believe that even some pitiable bikers may fall into this group (why else would these bikers treat their Harleys as expendable, looking forward to the "next" bike. These bikers never develop true relationships with their motorcycles), is that machines like Mabel have souls. She also has her own personality, that sets her apart from her Harley sisters. Bikers that are attuned to their motorcycles as living entities, develop a real and lasting relationship with their bikes. Love is not too strong a word, describing what dedicated bikers feel toward their machines.

And that brings me to my car, Mary. Mary in her automotive way, is the four wheeled equivalent to Mabel, my Harley. Deep into my retrospective life, I've loved both Harleys and Corvettes. Both live, and both are righteous. I am deeply thankful for Mary, in this year of the Lord, 2013. Mary is my 1972 Chevy Stingray, and along with Mabel, my other Mechanical Girl, she keeps me grounded. My most favored magazines these days, are muscle car rags. Biker magazines these days? Don't make me laugh. Man, biker rags are such a waste of my time and money. Same old bullcrap. Muscle car mags are a breath of fresh air, fun to read.

To me, The Corvette is one of the first true American muscle cars. The Vette is unique, spanning the American muscle car world, and the sports car world. The Vette is prime example of both worlds. I just recently had glass packs installed on Mary, and I get so stoked when I hear her deeply mellow (and loud!) bellow of an exhaust rap. You can read about her glass packs, and why I find the sound of straight-piped Harleys and Vettes so inspiring, in "Sound Judgement." Vettes are special, and my Vette Mary, has a soul just as surely as Mabel does. I need these mechanical girls in my life.

In the end, for all that I mentioned that I give thanks for, it really does matter that I enjoy these riches of life, in America. American exceptionlism will always matter. We as Americans, face tremendously difficult challenges this year, and in following years---some of which are presented by our own clueless president. However, America has always survived, always prevailed. For that perserverence, I give my thanks. Later.