1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Sandy Claws' Rides Again

Father Christmas (Santa Claus?) Bearing Gifts by Goat
(picture from article about Santa Claus in Wikipedia )
Now that the kids are grown and (mostly) moved away from the family nest--wherever that happens to rest at the moment--I miss those bedtime stories we used to enjoy together. Winter nights are especially difficult. The early onset of darkness and its companion COLD keep us inside with hours to go before we sleep.

Shall I read to you, dear? Television has no more allure. We've both exhausted our gender-determined word allowances for the day. Let's open a book--novel idea!--and see if we can kill a little time, dispel the darkness, find some meaning in life, ignore that bottle of French brandy sitting on the counter...

So we climb into bed, and I open a new favorite Christmas story. It's Bret Harte's short story "How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar." I found it in one of the red-bound, Black's Reader Service Company books that Mom gave me from Dad's extensive book collection. Now you might think it's a strange one to choose from a veritable treasure trove of stories concocted about the old fellow over hundreds of years. I guess I like it because it's not your traditional sappy story. It's written by a man whose genius captures his fellow Americans, male and female, simultaneously as the fools they are and the heroes that they become. I have to wonder. Are we really as complicated and conflicted as that? Not so easily pigeon-holed or neatly wrapped and ribboned as social and political scientists would have us be?

Better not think too much. "Do not all charms fly/ At the mere touch of cold philosophy?" (Keats, "Lamia")


  1. Interesting story choice for reading on a wintry night. I popped over to the website, read it, and liked it too. Enjoyed my visit at your blog also.

  2. Dear Walk2Write,
    thank you for reminding me to read Bret Harte again - and your choice of a Christmas story is good! We have traditional reading too: Timmermann's "St. Nikolaus in Not", Tove Jansson's "Christmas in Moomin Valley" ('The Dangerous is standing in front of the house!') and I like a special crime novel with Professor Shandy, who gives his house a glaring Christmas Light Show (because his neighcours nagged all the years) and then leaves...
    I wish you a beautiful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  3. What an interesting story!!! Hope you and SAM have a wonderful Christmas weekend!
    xoxo- Julie

  4. "Kidnap the Sandy Claws;
    beat him with a stick!"

    I don't know why I like that lyric so... but I do. Thanks for reminding me of it! It's so festive and Christmas-y, don'tcha think?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. I can see from the photo why eventually Santa became associated with a sleigh pulled by reindeer rather than riding a goat! He looks more like Bacchus here--I don't think any little ones would want to sit on HIS lap:)

    Hope you and Sam had a very Merry Christmas!

  6. Thanks, Rae, and welcome to the blog.

    Britta, you're my go-to lady for unusual reading selections. I'll try to find the ones you suggested.

    Thanks, Julie. We did have a great weekend--in Destin of all places.

    STM, I don't remember ever hearing that lyric before. In which song is it found?

    Yes, Mr. S. The California Gold Rush was his favorite subject.

    Rose, thanks. I was thinking the same thing about the old goat-man. Do you s'pose that bottle in his sack is full of milk for the cookies?

  7. Oh, you had a recent makeover? thats nice..Wish u a belated happy Christmas, and new year wishes in advance..Thanks for sharing such unheard beautiful christmas tales..