Thursday, December 06, 2012

Church-bells & brewers

It was always the church-bells. A city filled with them.

My parents were in the U.S. Foreign Service. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, they were stationed in Bonn, the capital of the then West Germany. From our family's two-floor apartment, a field away from the Rhine River, I could hear the pealing of many church-bells.

It was the pealing of those bells on St. Nicholas Day morning that especially appealed to a young boy's anticipation. St. Nicholas (Nikolaos of Myra 270 A.D. – 6 December 343) is the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Christian patron saint of brewsters and brewers. And the predecessor to the modern Santa Claus.

Happy St. Nicholas Day! (01)

Every 6 December morning, those bells meant ... chocolates! Chocolates that St. Nicholas had stuffed in the wooden shoes we had placed out the night before, to welcome him to our house. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that, upon a few occasions, St. Nicholas filled my shoe with lumps of coal, for purported bad behavior.

Today, in honor of St. Nicholas, why not thank a brewer for their beers (or a confectioner for their chocolates)? But NOT with a lump of coal!


Digitally transferred from an out-of-print German record album of the early 1960s. That record was played often during the Christmas season in the Cizauskas household. The scratches can attest to that.

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