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Santa is What...


Not possible. Not the gentle man who sat for hours, year after year, quietly listening as children whispered their dreams.

But it was true. Santa, aka David Paul Malloy, had died. He was the man who, when he wasn’t waving to the cheering children during the Colfax Winterfest parade, was riding and restoring Classic Vincent motorcycles.

On the second Saturday in June, a summer day that couldn’t make up its mind whether to rain or shine, I drove my husband and friend, Penelope, to The Wheelhouse in Nevada City to celebrate Dave’s life.

We arrived early and wandered through the restaurant to the back patio. Erected on the lawn was an imposing banner, flanked by two shiny Vincent motorcycles. The banner bore the letters HRD and the words Vincent Owners Club – Northern California Section. I learned HRD were the initials of British pilot Howard Raymond Davies, who while languishing in a 1917 German prisoner of war camp, conceived of building his own motorcycle, and eventually did so.

The threatened rain began to fall. The event host, Don Molloy – Dave’s only sibling – squeezed under a portable cover in front of the Bob Woods Band and welcomed the crowd clustered under dripping tree limbs and bobbing umbrellas. He spoke fondly of his brother, and when the rain showed no sign of stopping, encouraged everyone to move inside.

Three others joined Pene, Jim and me at a table in the corner. Friends Mo and Jeff drove down from their lofty hideaway in Eagleville. Another friend, Jimmy J., was on the loose from Alta while his wife, Heidi, vacationed in Rome. I met Heidi years earlier when we were members of the Friends of the Colfax Library. Back then, President Heidi organized the annual Colfax Santa’s Village, the place where I first met Dave. For a long time, I didn’t know Dave’s name. Everyone referred to him reverentially as Santa.

Pauline Nevins  June 28,2023 - Auburn Journal

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