Yesterday my friend Daniela came and visited with her little daughter. She said, "Nikolo stopped by our home and brought this for you." She handed me a package in brown paper. Inside, tucked in a can, was a glowing apple, a fragrant tangerine, a heart-shaped lebkuchen cookie, and some peanuts. Something about the simplicity of this gift touched me deeply. Many people these days give other gifts on Nikolo...toys, books, candy. But my friend filled that can with the things that Saint Nikolaus originally gave, and I promised myself then and there that Rafael will also receive this traditional mix each year on December sixth...in his little boot placed in front of the door the night before.
Rafael ate that mandarin happily with sticky juice running down his chin and fingers.
And I ate the cookie.