Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy St. Nicholas Day

Time has flown, and last night the boys realized with surprise that it was already time to put their boots out for St. Nicholas, that distant cousin of Santa Claus, who comes in the night and leaves fruit and nuts and toys for good little children.

Children are surprisingly unfazed by home invasions in December, even those perpetrated by strange men in costumes and untrimmed beards.

One year my little son, only four, had gone to his boot and turned it upside down. He said sleepily, "Is that all?" At first I thought he was particularly greedy, and then I realized that a huge red apple had lodged in the boot and kept his other treats from flowing out. It's become a favorite family memory--his disappointed little face staring at the boot in disbelief.

Today they were pleased enough--St. Nicholas doesn't give an obscenity of gifts, but he's thoughtful--and it was a nice thing to do before a day of school. I'm sure they wish every day started this way.

I'm wondering how a mystery could be worked around the idea of St. Nicholas and his nocturnal visit . . . .

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