What are memories made of?Fragments of colored glass, perfect for life’s grand mosaicPieces of patterned cloth for the patchwork quilt of our earth journeysAnd thick threads, for the tapestries we weave of the world
In it, on the mosaics, atop the quilts and woven into the tapestries,Are people, loved and not,Faces – gorgeous, beautiful, scarred and tannedAnd names, full of meaning and wisdom, in places far and yet undiscovered Memories are nuggets of warmth on a cold dayA lazy stroll through the dusky lanes of our minds and heartsI want all my memories to be happyJoyful, truly worthy to be called remembrances and forget-me-nots
My memories of Sinterklaas span three decadesThey stretch back to a time when I was only waist-high tallAnd when we lived in a world that was easyAnd gilded with the lilies of youthA time when Sinterklaas was to my sisters and I his translated English name ‘Saint Nicholas’And when we called his helpers, colorfully clad with faces the colour of tar, Black Peters The streets and avenues of my mind are strewn with peppernoten, kruidnotenAnd pastel-colored candy, hard sweets the pattern of red and white Christmas candy canesAnd the warming spices of autumn and fall – cinnamon, ginger, clovesScents that awaken thoughts in my head
I am a part of all I’ve metGrateful to be a part of all I’ve metMy friendships, conversations, handshakesAnd three kisses, cheek to cheek to cheek I am no longer the ‘me’ I wasThe ‘me’ of twenty seven years agoI am a ‘me’ who celebrates The 4th of July and American Thanksgiving;Attends Canadian Independence BarbequesAnd cries on Nigeria’s Independence DayMy world has been lit by ‘Diwali’ and Scandinavian Santa LuciaWearing Orange in spring is part of my Dutch heritage, as an honorary citizen Sinterklaas this year will be no secret poemsNo exchange of gifts wrapped in Hessian sacksSinterklaas this year will be heads and heartsChock full of memories past
This year, there will be apple cakeSinterklaas’s White horse likes applesThere will be store-bought SpeculaasAnd glasses of (warm) milkThere will be many Sinterklaas songsAnd even a bookAnd by some fortuitous spiritThere will be a handful of authentic bakers KruidnotenFerried by an angel called a colleagueFresh from The Hague And just as giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day felt naturalSo does celebrating Saint Nicholas feelOn the 5th of December, at home in Nigeria Memories of the recent pastIntactHand in heart Happy SinterklaasTo our Dutch ‘family’ – real and adoptedAcross the oceans We love you!
Sinterklaas related Posts
Sinterklaas is a Dutch tradition that has been celebrated for at least 350 years, testimony is given by the ‘The Feast of Saint Nicholas’, a painting by the Dutch Master, Jan Steen in 1665. This painting is one of his best and happiest and depicts a family celebrating the feast of Saint Nicholas.
It captures all the tales about Sinterklaas – the communal nature, the gifts or lack of for both good and not-so-good children
What strikes me is the basket of goodies full of biscuits and bread and what looks like a large speculaas cookie.
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