On Saturday, we had a visit from St. Nicholas – the real St. Nicholas – the holy bishop who wears a miter, carries a crozier, and rides a white horse, not the fat fellow in a red suit. Rebecca and Rachael both were always more excited about the visit of St. Nicholas on December sixth than they were about actual Christmas. Perhaps because Christmas can be so overwhelming, but the visit from St. Nicholas was their own special event and was always relatively serene. They put out their shoes and a bowl of oats for the horse, and eagerly awaited their gifts of something warm to wear – usually on hands, feet, or head – and fruits and cookies. Rebecca, who was the best child ever, was ever needlessly worried about getting a bit of coal or worse yet, being put in Krampus’ sack. No matter how firmly we assured her this could never happen because she was always so good, she worried terribly. One December 5th night late, it snowed for the first time in quite a long while. Rebecca woke up, and everything looked different due to the snow, the altered light, and the consequent new shadows on the wall from the bare tree limbs. She was sure Krampus was there to get her, and cried out pathetically. We leapt out of bed to comfort her, and she was relieved to see the snow and no Krampus. Did she perhaps she have some terrible secret that only Krampus would be aware of?
This year, Rachael actually forgot to put out her shoes, or possibly thought she was too big for Niklaus to visit her. She was delighted when she got up and found her shoes filled with cookies, candy, an apple, and this pair of gloves which I knitted for her. Later, when I was changing my linen, an apple rolled out from the sheets. I was mystified until I realized that, unlike the candy and cookies which were quickly consumed, the apple had been rejected and left behind.
10 hours ago