14 years ago today, I did. Marry Greg. Not the taco sauce packet! 😉
We have big plans for today. Greg took today off from work, and after we drop the girls off at school, we’re going Christmas shopping. Very exciting, isn’t it? We’re also going to try a new place for lunch. It’s fast food, but I’ve heard they’re very good!
Happy Anniversary, Honey! ♥
…of the day we met, fourteen years ago ♥
Today is our 12th wedding anniversary. No big plans, just dinner at The Olive Garden.
Today is also Nikolaus Tag in Germany, which was another favorite tradition when I was a child. It’s also celebrated in several other European countries.
In Germany, Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot, called Nikolaus-Stiefel, outside the front door on the night of December 5 to December 6. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good. If they were not, they will have a tree branch (Rute) in their boots instead. Sometimes, a disguised Nikolaus also visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they “have been good” (sometimes ostensibly checking a book for their record), handing out presents on a per-behaviour basis. This has become more lenient in recent decades.
But for many children, Nikolaus also elicited fear, as he was often accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, who would threaten to beat, or sometimes actually eat the children for misbehaviour. Knecht Ruprecht furthermore was equipped with goatlegs. In Switzerland, where he is called Schmutzli, he would threaten to put bad children in a sack and take them back to the dark forest. In other accounts he would throw the sack into the river, drowning the naughty children. These traditions were implemented more rigidly in Catholic countries and regions such as Austria or Bavaria.
In highly Catholic regions, the local priest was informed by the parents about their children’s behaviour and would then personally visit the homes in the traditional Christian garment and threaten to beat them with a rod. In parts of Austria, Krampusse, who local tradition says are Nikolaus’ helpers (in reality, typically children of poor families), roamed the streets during the festival. They wore masks and dragged chains behind them, even occasionally hurling them towards children in their way. These Krampusläufe (Krampus runs) still exist, although perhaps less violent than in the past.
13 years ago today I met the love of my life.
I was still married at the time, but my marriage had been falling apart for years. That 4th of July week-end in 1995 we went to an Army reunion, where a few people who were stationed in Germany got together in Tennessee at one of the couples’ houses. It was the second annual reunion and that year Greg was there, too. I’ll never forget the first moment when I saw him. It was love at first sight, and he “had me at hello” 😉 We didn’t exactly spend time together that week-end, but did find time to chat here and there. All pretty innocent (with my ex there and all!). Everyone who came exchanged addresses and over the next few months, Greg and I kept in touch through letters, cards, and then phone calls, until one day he told me that I had a place to go if I needed to get out. So at the end of September 1995 he came to pick me up and drove to Maryland together. It was a big decision and I had no idea how things would work out, but it couldn’t be worse than the miserable marriage I was in. It was the right decision, and not for one second have I ever regretted it. And now, 13 years later, we are still as happy as we were in the very beginning. Sometimes I can’t believe that we met so long ago, it seems like just yesterday… and other times it feels like we’ve known each other all our lives. And sometimes I wish that I could turn the clock back to June 30, 1995 and do it all over again – and not changing a thing! ♥