Thursday, December 6, 2007
Who is today's saint?
If you woke to find candy and nuts in your shoes then you already know, today's saint is Saint Nicholas. Like, totally Yay!
When we lived in Milwaukee we found that St. Nicholas day is well remembered there. If it has to do with a predominance of Germans living in Milwaukee then they are not the same bunch of Germans that I am related to around here, because only one of my aunts ever bears in mind when St. Nicholas day is. Then, she also remembers many, many of the saints' days and uses them to predict the weather. Maybe more on that later.
Many people are aware that the three gold balls that hang outside your favorite pawn brokers' shop are there in honor of Saint Nicholas who paid a dowry of gold for each of the three daughters of a man too poor to afford their dowries himself. If not for St. Nicholas' anonymous generosity the girls would have become prostitutes.
A lesser known Nicholas legend is that during a famine he visited a butcher who, unlike anyone else in town, had meat. Nicholas searched the butcher's cellar where he found three barrels containing murdered boys pickling in brine. He promptly brought them back to life, and according to my Saint-A-Day guide has been the patron of children in a pickle ever since. Har de har. Seriously, it is possible that Sweeney Todd is based in part on this legend.
So there you have it. A saint whose emblem is three balls, nuts in your shoes and corned beef kiddies. All of which has become a jolly elf who lives among the shorties at the top of the world with the prescience to know if you been naughty or you been nice. How can you not be in love with teh catholics?
I don't know who Saint Nicholas would be if he were alive today. But if those children were around they'd be Laura Bush.