Have you prepared your boots?

 

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The eve of St. Nicholas. For Romanian children and probably for children coming from other traditions as well, this means that they have to prepare their boots and place them at the window. St. Nicholas, the one who brings gifts in secret, will pass by and leave something there: perhaps a coin of chocolate, perhaps an orange, or maybe just a piece of bread.

In my childhood, St. Nicholas’ night was filled with magic. We used to get oranges, which were unseen throughout the year in communist Romania (I have heard many people from those parts of the world that Christmas smells like oranges), so we were sure that St. Nicholas really brought them from some place far away. But we also used to get a little wooden stick, a “joarda,” so that our parents could use them if we were not good. Of course, they never did. In fact, I don’t even know whether it was a local tradition, but “joarda” never missed from out little bags that we found in our boots.

But really think about it: a “joarda” as a gift. Just like the oranges, “joarda” was not “deserved.” It was a gift, as all people in this life are, however they are. May I have my “boots” prepared for them.

Happy St. Nicholas day, all of you!

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About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
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2 Responses to Have you prepared your boots?

  1. Astazi am vazut poza dumitale alaturi de Ana Blandiana si Romulus Rusan pe pagina de Twitter a poetei. Eu am organizat un eveniment AB si RR pe 14 iunie 2015 in casa mea galerie din Los Angeles cu ocazia vizitei lor pe Coasta de Vest a S.U.A.http://acum.tv/articol/74733/ (articol scris de mine, Ileana Costea, despre vizita acestor doi scriitori pe Coasta de Vest. Pozele de la eveniment se pot vedea pe web la http://gathering2105.weebly.com . Ma scuz, dar am aflat despre dumneata abia cu aceasta ocazie (a pozei de pe Twitter).Cum din 1998 scriu articole despre “prezente romanesti-surpriza in strainatate” in ziare si reviste din diaspora, ar fi trebuit sa stiu despre dumneata.(Mi-a aparut un prim volum de articole pe Amazon si Barnes & Nobles, “Exercitii de Neuitare”) Dar in lumea inginereasca in care traiesc (profesor de ingineria fabricatiei), departe de tara de 40 ani, multe lucruri imi scapa. Cautand pe Internet numele dumitale am dat si de aceasta duioasa poveste despre traditia romaneasca de Sfantul Nicolae. Imi amintesc si eu de emotia deschisului usii pe palier unde imi pusesem pantofii pentru Mos Nicolae in casa din Cotroceni a copilariei mele, vis-a-vis de Gradina Botanica. La mine “joarda” a venit doar odata, si nu a mai fost innoita. Mama (care si-a crescut copilul plin de personalitate singura, ramanand vaduva inainte de a ma naste), pusese “joarda” pe un mic tablou langa usa de intrare in apartament. Si “joarda” era dreapta ca o linie groasa peste tablou. Dar la cate o nazbatie (si erau dese) se curba. Si se tot curba. Stiam ca daca continui va sari de acolo si ma va lovi. Sigur n-a sarit niciodata… Dar m-a ajutat adesea “sa ma gandesc bine pana la urmatoarea nazbatie”. Si culmea este ca abia acum, din acest articol al dumitale am aflat cum se chema crenguta de pe tabloul din casa noastra. Iar portocale nu-mi amintesc sa fi mancat multe in copilarie. Se gaseau foarte rar. Eu am amintirea suncii de Praga. Uneori, cam de doua ori pe an, mama venea de la scoala (era profesoara la Liceul Sincai) cu un sandwich de la magazinul Dunarea (vis-a-vis pe diagonala de Cercul Militari) cu sunca aceea care mi se parea delicioasa. De cand o pot cumpara oricand mi-o doresc de la “supermarket” gustul i-a scazut la “buna”. Cu placerea de a va fi descoperit. Ileana Costea, PhD.

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  2. Sarut mana si imi pare bine sa ne intalnim. Eu am fost cu niste studenti in Romania vara asta si m-am intalnit cu Ana Blandiana si Romulus Rusan. De altfel, puteti vedea comentariile lor de dupa intalnire aici: http://ocgabor.blogspot.com/2015/08/discussions-with-ana-blandiana-and.html. Sa ne auzim cu bine! Ma bucur de intalnire.

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