Hanx High Priest/Commissioner of Toys
Season’s greetings Ho Ho Ho 173Problem@Speedway (retired) coming tooo yooou. The annual “Bike Messenger Toy Drive” is thankfully once again upon us. As all you old timers know the event is always the second Saturday in December San Francisco South Park at noon. The alternate rain site is noon to threeish at South Park second Saturday in December. This year’s event is on Saturday December 8, 2012 12 PM PST.
Last years toy drive was the most splendid affair of recent memory. There was the largest turnout in years and everyone had a wonderful time. The people were beautiful the weather was great the party was going on and big fun catching up with old friends. Best of all so many toys were donated by the bike messengers even the fire department people were amazed. No one cooked or did much of a food scenario (boo). The antique Fire Truck failed to make an appearance due to a family emergency of its driver. So there was a lot of confusion about dropping off and picking up the toy barrels and the SFFD Toy Drive Jersey. A real working fire truck finally came by and dropped off the toy barrels however had no access to the Toy Drive T-Shirts. It was only the 3rdish time the SFFD had event problems in the 25ish year history of the event. Abraham Jack gets both a gold and silver star on his chart for performance above and beyond the call of duty. He drove us all over creation looking for the new location of Santa Central after the event to try and pick up the Toy Drive Jersey. By the time we found it, it was closed. It was so late we had already missed Toney’s band set which was a real bummer as we were hoping to see if Mike still had that hummingbird in heat fret board. To give you a bit of perspective on how important even the bit we do is the day we went to Santa Central to pickup the Jersey from Elf Jill in time for the Christmas party she was not there. She had been called away to emergency deliver a Christmas toy to a child whose bone marrow cancer operation had just failed the child died the next day clutching the toy. One neat deal there was the 150 tiny Bicycles 75 each donated by the SF Bar Pilots and the SF Yacht Club.
The Count and Lady Gramalkin were invited to attend these years “SFFD Toy Drive Kickoff Luncheon” at Santa central. The Academy of Art donates the Santa Central space to the SFFD Toy Drive Program. What a grand event, the entirely volunteer Toy Drive workers were there mostly retired SFFD personal. It turns out that Saints Claus has a multitude of clones simultaneously appearing many of who guest star SFFD events. They served salad, spaghetti, clams, crab, shrimp, bread, desert muffins and various beverages. We met many of them all nice people and learned a thing or two about fire. Like if the roof feels like walking on a waterbed its time to get off the roof as it is the weakest part of a building. When in a burning building break out the windows to let the heat out which slows down spreading the fire and stay close to the walls which are much stronger than the roof. A fireman told me he had just been on 3 fires in 36 hours. The fire department and the bike messengers have enjoyed a long and honorable toy drive association. Elf Jill says we are her favorite event. The fire department is a noble secular outfit of hero’s who deals with all that reality nonsense in an extraordinary manner as well as doing an exceptionally fine job distributing some quarter of a million toys to deserving children twelve months a year. Three ++ barrels of high quality toys were collected and donated to the San Francisco Fire Department Toy Drive. As the bikers live life on the line it is easy to appreciate how dangerous is the San Francisco fireman’s mission of preserving a seven square mile stick of hundred-year-old wood. The fact that San Francisco still exists is testimony to their greatness and we thank them for everything they do.
The San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program is the city’s largest and the nation’s oldest program of its kind. Since 1949, it has evolved from a few firefighters repairing broken toys and bikes for 15 families. Some 300 firefighters and friends are now volunteering their time to distribute over 200,000 toys to more than 40,000 disadvantaged children. Even with these impressive numbers, many families were turned away last year due to limited funds. Besides helping individual families in need, the Toy Program serves many community organizations, including shelters for abused women and children, inner-city schools, neighborhood groups, children’s cancer wards, and pediatric aids units. They also respond on a year-round basis to displaced children who become victims of fires, floods, and other such disasters. The Bike Messengers are proud to add a little something to helping rear well balanced children.
For the rookies here is the history of the event. Once upon a time long, long ago back when the world was right and being a bike messenger was a party going on all bike messengers had a full metal basket with an open 16 once beer in it there was a large herd of Hanx / Jak’s that grazed it’s way about San Francisco. Every weekend the whole outfit would ride out to the park or wherever to do Bar-B-Q Beer-Bust or whatever, as well as gather in mass everyday after work (or during work) to party and spin the inevitable “Tag Tales”. Did you ever hear about the tag I ran that was so long had to use GPS on the return to find the city? One day we were in our natural repose (lying about on the floor at the Maz messenger clubhouse with our load on it`s hard to fall up). When suddenly SHAZAM a bolt from the blue, this refined, charming, dignified, delicate, articulate, extremely intelligent, modest, very psychic, illuminated, brilliant, so handsome, well mannered suave debonair talented sophisticate genius type (that would be me) actually managed to sit up without help and proclaim “lets give something back to the city and have a bike messenger toy drive”. Thus I was knighted Hanx Commissioner of Toys and the rest is history.
The second Saturday was chosen after much deliberation as the third can be December 21 and the first is to early. South Park was right across the street and we partied there all the time anyways. It became the Fire department toy drive because it is a secular organization with a great calling and was just down the road (3rd @ 4th) from “South Park” which is a natural and beautiful location for the toy drive. South Park is a replica of a famous park in London, England. We would party all afternoon at South Park then load all the toys on the bikes and ride them down to the antique fire house then go around the corner to the Mission Rock Pier area and party out the evening. The date of origin of the San Francisco Bike Messenger Toy Drive is unknown even the fire department has zero record of the date of inception. The midish eighties is as close as we can remember.
Thank you to: Hanx President Kelly Ray for his support of the event. Cognition Carla, SFBMA, Battleaxe, Sardine and their Cognition Magazine. Tony Calzone and his band who always supported the toy drive and do the companion toy drive concert. Mrs. Claus Sally Casazza and daughter Elf Jill SFFD for the splendid way they cater our event and handle the distribution of the toys. As always Jak’s supreme Tom Skate (AKA Tom Scott) the Jak’s liaison who comes all the way down from the North Country for the event and Jak`s Abraham who always supports the toy drive. We enjoyed the triumphant return of Jak’s Nosmo King over from the East Bay. Old timers recall he was the first to bring a new bicycle toy. Last news was Jak’s had cycled out there is not one Jak’s left on the steel. However the other day saw Nosmo running tags in a van, almost the same. Being assigned a Toy Drive Jersey is more a duty call than an award. Rather than being a treasure to be tucked away the Toy Drive Jersey is a Promotion Billboard that must be worn to be seen so do your job. Sardine was issued the SFFD 2011 Toy Drive Jersey. Once upon a time ever so long ago back when Howard Williams who has always championed the Toy Drive was campaigning to be the first SFBMA president we crossed paths at the stairs and had a chance to chat. “Was just campaigning for you” says I. He snapped to and says “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”. “He is willing to do it” says I. His stark panic expression became the big grin. The Reverend Count Gramalkin The Hanx Bike Messenger Brotherhood High Priest and Commissioner of Toys by the original Hanx Charter Terms (that “anyone stupid enough to be a bike messenger was Hanx” Tom Snow – Hanx Founding Father) do hereby move that and therefore Knight Howard “Hanx Commissioner of Labor Relations” in recognition of his decades of service to the industry all in favor say aye. Baring massive Brotherhood objection congratulations Mister Commissioner. It is hard to believe that it was 25+ years ago that anyone who can remember Hanx Sergeant At Arms Bobby Bennett was on the steel. Last news was broken hearted over the loss of his children by divorce he moved back to his hometown and became a factory worker. Remember the time he passed out with his load on rolled over and fell off the scaffolding in Harvey’s back yard and broke his arm. Big nasty long half inch wide scar. Bobby was a great guy heart of gold party animal and in fact may well have originated “Hanx On The Floor”. Which brings to the Hanx Motto “So What”.
If one may not attend the flagship event EVERYONE may participate in the Bike Messenger Brotherhood Toy Drive. “Pick Up” any new unwrapped toy; “Drop Off” at any toy barrels anywhere in the world and your Honorary Hanx. Thank you to all the people who attend the event the children really do appreciate you any toy is a big doings to a child.
Let us ever vigilantly recall that GOD likes guys that…… keep The Shinny Side Up, who always check a 10-9 and remember Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
Good luck love thank you amen Om,
The Reverend Count Gramalkin