Monday, December 24, 2012

Memories of Christmas; Past and Present

Christmas comes so quickly now, the long anticipation and waiting as the season's magic grew that I felt as a child now seems like a sudden flash, a moment come and gone.  And as I sit here on Christmas eve, snow falling quietly outside, the house warm and quiet as the kids have just left and Kim and I prepare for that long winter's nap, I have a little time to reflect and share best wishes for a fine holiday.

The Vespa still sits in the garage waiting for me to engage in repair actions and return to the cold roads of winter.  Reaching into the archives from a few years ago I retrieved this image of the scooter hauling home a Christmas tree.  After 8 weeks of Vespa free living I have begun to forget how capable that machine is...

Yesterday morning I rode my daughter's Yamaha Vino into town, temperatures hovering around 28F and some snowy reminders that on the ground that my scanning style has to shift into winter riding mode.  On the short trip I identified a half dozen stealthy ice patches that could cause problems for an unsuspecting rider.  

Saint's Cafe feels like home -- a quiet festive atmosphere where people know my name.  On Sunday morning I get to spend some time with friends, talk about life, photography and the things that bring us together.

An early view, not long after the doors opened, before people begin to arrive.  In those silent moments my mind wanders through Christmas past and Christmas present.

The Vino has begun to grow on me.  Lights and trees and trappings of the season remind me of trips to Pittsburgh as a kid with my mother, the pilgrimage to Joseph Hornes to see Santa Claus, the Christmas Town trains at Buhl Planetarium, candlelight services as church on Christmas even and all the other little experiences that color my ideas of the holiday.  And they wash over me as I ride beneath the twinkling lights as if I was 6 years old again.

More riding magic perhaps.

One last stop on the ride home to admire the home decorations that come closest to Clark Griswold in the movie "Christmas Vacation."  This site would have fueled years of seasonal magic for me as a kid.

The clock draws near Christmas morning and it's time to shut down the computer and hold hands with my wife and await the arrival of Saint Nick.

So to all who visit and read here, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Circle Blue said...

Merry Christmas and peace to you. Ride safe and keep scanning your path.

Steve Williams said...

Circle Blue (Keith): I'll keep my eyes open and on the lookout for all those little frozen details that make riding in winter a challenge.

And I suppose as soon as I fix the Vespa I should mount the winter tires too!

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Steve, safe and warm travels on cool roads.

Robert Wilson said...

Wow...I grew up in Pittsburgh and had forgot what a magical time winter was in the city. Going to see the trains (now a year round display), the windows at Horne's, and holding my girlfriend close looking over the city from Mt. Washington. Thank you for reminding me of my youth.

Charlie6 said...

Nice remembrances of Christmas was indeed more magical when we were younger, wasn't it?

Merry Christmas to you and yours Steve, now quit slacking and get your scoot back on the road! Please.

Dom and Martha

Steve Williams said...

Coopdway: Thank you. And the same wishes to you.

Steve Williams said...

Robert Wilson: Pittsburgh was a great place during the holidays for me. As I sit and think about it I feel I could write a book about it. Glad I could remind you of your own experiences.

Merry Christmas.

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6 (Dom): First, Merry Christmas to you, Martha and the boys. Judging from all your posts you are having a fine time!

Lots of things keeping me from the Vespa repairs of late, too much to go into. But I will, I will get that thing back on the road.

bob skoot said...


Merry Christmas

don't sweat about the repairs, you have the Vino to scoot you around. enjoy the Holidays. That's the first time you have posted a full interior view of Saints Cafe, looks cozy in there.

If only we could turn back the clock and be young again, but only in our minds . . .

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

I was thinking that it's been a couple of years since there was a "Christmas tree on the Vespa" photo. Are you getting a little break during the holidays?

Merry Christmas!

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: Saint's is a cozy place -- even when it's crowded. It has a personality, something that's missing at Starbucks. Not that I don't like Starbucks, I do, but you get the feeling at Saint's that you are part of a family and not just a customer. Hard to explain.

There are lots of memories and lost people that I would mind revisiting now and again. I think, for me, Christmas is in part a time of remembrance.

Best wishes for a good New Year.

Steve Williams said...

RichardM: The Christmas break has brought some relief though some looming work deadlines have me attending to some Penn State deadlines that can't wait for the official return to work.

Relaxing is something I am good at physically but not so good in the mental department. Need to do something about that...

Maybe next year I bring another tree home on the Vespa!

Win goal said...

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poppawheelie said...

Merry Christmas, Steve! Lynne & I find the Burgman a great way to look at the Christmas lights, much better than the car.

David Masse said...

Happy holidays Steve.

That Saints interior is a beautiful shot. It just glows with warmth and good cheer.

Thanks for digging up that Christmas tree picture, I remember it well, from the days when I was only aspiring to ride and I was digging through the Scooter in the Sticks basement gobbling up all the posts I could find.

kz1000st said...

I just, finally, saw the tree on the back of the Vespa. One time many years ago I was living in Brooklyn and out on a bicycle at Christmas time running errands. I saw a tree about that size at a street vendor and called home to see about buying it. I carried it home on the bike and my wife and two stepsons met me at out gated building like I was Santa. The boys were so excited about the tree since Christmas was now here! I felt like I was really their Dad.

Michele Bousquet said...

Glad to see you enjoy your LX150 so much! I love this scooter too, but I have a different way of expressing it... I made a 3D model of it (a sort of digital prop) that I'm selling online, and I'm even writing a blog about the making of the model. I thought you'd get a kick out of this, and maybe even consider it as a subject for a future post. Ride on!

The model for sale online:

The blog about making it:

Julian Kamaluddin said...

Hi Steve,

Great blog. Inspired a lot of riding and photography. Riding a gts300 in the wilderness of borneo, trying but failing to take photos as good as yours though. Happy new year and safe riding!


Alex zender said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you.

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ben almeer said...

Charlie6 (Dom): First, Merry Christmas to you, Martha and the boys. Judging from all your posts you are having a fine time! Thanks for sharing this with us.
Ben Almeer,
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Harley Motorcycle Tires said...

Saw this when Christmas is already done. But i am sure with all the wishes you had a nice one! In this new year, keep our eyes open reading your blogs!

marriedmanstrail said...

Steve, it's time for a scooter fix. ;^)

Janet Ndinda said...

Happy new year. Am sure you had a wonderful Christmas.
I own a motorcycle which is now parked in my garage. I am not in a situation to ride at the moment but i surely miss the experience.
Are you aware of the quality Michelin Motorcycle Tires on offer.Try them out.

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