Posts Tagged ‘St. Von Nicholas of Myra’


Until I visited Santa Fe I had no idea that there was a patron saint of cakes and cookies. But sure enough, there he was in a little shop that sold a really astounding variety of saintly goods – Saint Von Nicholas of Myra.

Often when someone travels from our office they bring back candies or treats from the place they visited—salt water taffy from the beach, chocolates from Vienna. In keeping with that same spirit, I picked up one to the little St. Von Nick icons as an office gift. Since he was the patron of cakes and cookies, I decided we could hang him up in the area where we always share treats at work and maybe he’d have a beneficial effect on our supply of baked goods.

When I got back to the office I hung him up and sent an e-mail message to the department:

“Rather than bring you back something perishable from Santa Fe, I elected to bring a gift that (I hope) will keep on giving: A small wooden icon of St. Von Nicholas of Myra, Patron of Cakes and Cookies. I will hang St. VN over the usual cake & cookie place, and if we’re all very, very good perhaps he will bless us. Soon.”

When I arrived at work the next morning at 8:30, a colleague said, “Vicki! Did you see? The saint worked!” A pan of brownies graced the treats counter beneath the icon.  They were brought in by a co-worker who had not been in the office on Monday, and therefore had not yet read the e-mail. Truly a miracle.

I once wrote a story called “Nonperishables,” about a woman who decides to enter her pound cake at the state fair, but ends up giving it to a friend instead. “What’s the use of pouring your love into a pound cake,” she asks, “and then having three bites taken out of it just for purposes of criticism? You should spread them around! You should give them to the poor, the bereaved, the sick, and the lonesome. You know what? That’s what’s nonperishable! Not the cake, but the thought and the love that make you give it.”

I am looking at a counter filled with love right this minute. I have zucchini bread, and low-carb peanut butter cookies, and leftovers from a delicious Thai lunch. Not to mention bouquets of flowers, which feed the soul and are themselves perishable. All of this to help me heal from a small surgery. It’s working like a charm, too.

I wonder if we shouldn’t have special healers with the power to write prescriptions for brownies, fruit pies, breads, and cookies, casseroles and soups and salads. I think there could be a great deal of value in that.  And no risk of dangerous side effects, even in the event of an overdose.

On the day that St. Von Nicholas set up residence in our office, a gentleman, B., came to my doorway and explained that while he liked brownies just like everyone else, he was really a pound cake man. So later that week I took a pound cake, sliced, individually wrapped, and packed in a basket. I set the basket beneath the icon at 8:30, and at 9:30 B. brought the empty basket to my office.

“We need more,” he said.

I shook my head. “I hope you got more than one piece,” I told him, since he really was the only reason I had made pound cake in the first place.

His big blue eyes got rounder—and yet they conveyed a terrible sadness. Then he held up four fingers.  


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