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Danish Christmas Eve

Charming Danish Christmas Eve custom: Rice pudding, risalamande, is served. Boiled rice, whipped cream, vanilla, sugar, cherry sauce, optional brandy. One almond: the one who gets the almond wins the door prize. https://denmark.dk/people-and-culture/christmas-recipes/risalamande [Lady Godiva’s husband, Leofric Earl of Mercia, was Danish and my ancestor, hence my interest in Danish food]

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Let’s play hide n seek

Olly Olly Oxen Free: children’s saying for a truce for games like Hide & seek or to switch sides such as in dodgeball. I would like to hear from anyone familiar with it. I may use it for the title of my middle-grade novel about my great-grandfather, Billy Suddeth, who hid the family horse from Confederate raiders. Title: Olly Olly Oxen Free: July 1863 (may come from “all ye all ye outs in free”)

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Armadillos entered Kentucky about 40 years ago, entering from the west, but they are in the Louisville area. They are nocturnal and eat mostly bugs, they are not a threat. They have also crossed the Ohio River but are considered an exotic species in Indiana. I would love to see them, but I am not out and about when they are. Anyone with an armadillo photo they took is welcome to post them.

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If you’ve been naughty

Twisted Christmas

Tonight (December 5) is Krampusnacht, when Santa’s alter ego appears. (some say he is Odin or Oller) If you’ve been bad, woe is you.

He’s hairy, beard down to his waist,

With billy goat’s horns and cloven hooves.

His forked tongue pokes through wolf fangs,

Nonother than Hillbilly Krampus.

He drags long chains, flicks his whip,

Clangs a devilish dingy dinner bell,

Packs a burlap poke over his back,

Fills it with bad little boys and girls.

He drives a rickety old wagon,

Pulled by eight ornery mules,

All splay-footed and flop-eared,

Braying and bawling and belching.

He has hellish little helpers,

Trolls and ogres and gnomes,

If you see any of them coming,

You best run for your life.

If you’re a good little boy or girl,

You have nothing at all to fear.

If you’ve been naughty or bad,

Saint Nick will never find you.

Krampus is meaner than a moonshiner,

The lucky ones, he drowns in creeks,

Still others get grilled and barbecued,

The unlucky ones get hauled off to Hell.

I absolutely believe in Santa Claus,

Always have, and always will.

Now of Krampus I have many doubts,

But I’m not taking any chances.

St. Nick, I’ve been good. Oh so very, very good.

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National Cookie Day: Sunday, December 4. Bake/buy/eat/give!

World’s best adult cookie: BROWN BUTTER BOURBON COOKIES

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 5 tablespoons bourbon, 1 cup chopped pecans. Some add chocolate chips, nutmeg, cinnamon. [non-alcoholic Bourbon is available]

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Danish National Dish: stegt flæsk med persillesovs—fried pork belly with parsley sauce and boiled potatoes. [Lady Godiva’s husband, Leofric Earl of Mercia, was Danish and my ancestor, hence my interest in Danish food]

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Mrs. Claus?

Skathi or Skadi was a giantess whose name means shade or harm. She had 3 husbands: first Njorthr, sea god. Second Wotan/Odin, head god. Third Oller/Uller Glory, God of winter. Both Wotan and Oller are candidates for the real Santa Claus.

Skathi and Oller? I love the symbolism of shade/harm married to glory.

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The real Santa

Oller or Uller was ancient Germanic god whose name means Glory. He ruled as King during the winter, displacing Woden or Odin whose name means Rage (ecstasy in the positive sense). He was married to Skathi, Shadow. He may be Woden in an alternative sense as rage/glory being opposing states. More to the current season, Oller may be the original Santa Claus. Ho ho ho.

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Hartford Connecticut holds in May an annual Hooker Day Parade and Foundation Festival to honor Thomas Hooker, its founder, and yes, a play on names. Must be the only Hooker parade anywhere. He’s my 10th great grandfather—I would love to attend.

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Thomas Hooker (1586 Leicestershire, England-1647 Hartford) left Massachusetts after conflict with Puritans in 1636 and founded Connecticut and Hartford. A congregationalist minister, he wrote several books and helped draft a Connecticut constitution, the first in the world to form a government. Famous descendants include Vice President Aaron Burr, President William Taft, painter George Catlin, financier J. P Morgan, publisher Frank Doubleday, John Turner Sargent Jr. current book publisher, and me (he’s my 10th great grandfather).

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