I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.– Dylan Thomas (A Child’s Christmas in Wales)

10:15am Monday, November 20, Juneau. Snowing, 24 degrees, light wind in our neighborhood, gusts to 70 mph in downtown and Douglas.There is a blizzard warning until 6:00 am tomorrow morning for 9-14 inches of snow and winds gusting to 60 mph. The brunt of the storm is expected between lunch and dinner time, they say. The snow may mix with rain tonight.

Eliza, who is a teacher, drove to her school with Molly and texted that they will be home for lunch since school is closing early. James took a snow day with me. He made us scrambled eggs, then we put on our boots and snow pants to check out the neighborhood before the plows come. He made a snow angel on the sidewalk.

By the time we turned around the city crews were working. Our tracks were the only ones on the sidewalk though.

Last night after we said grace, Eliza said James had a question for me. It was about saints. They had visited the Shrine of St. Therese last week and lit candles for Papa Bob and Grandma Sarah. Last summer when we were there I got them St. Anthony medals. Then,I explained that there are saints for everything, and Anthony is the saint for lost causes, and since that was a bit over their heads, I said he is also good for children who can’t find the other mitten or a Lego piece. I shared the rhyme a friend taught me years ago, who is Jewish, not Catholic. Saints don’t care. They are here to help everyone. It goes like this: “Tony, Tony look around, something’s lost that can’t be found.”

(A side note: my friend Teresa, who the shrine is not named after, rather the other way around, gave a baby up for adoption when she was a teenager and always prayed he’d be well and that they would find each other some day. They did. And his name is Tony. But that is her story, for another time.)

James and Molly did not pick up new medals this visit to the shrine because they weren’t sure which ones they needed. James wanted to know if pirates have a saint. Eliza doubted it.

Are you kidding? There are saints for everything.

I looked it up on my computer.

You will not believe what we learned.The saint of pirates is St. Nicholas.

Santa Claus?


Maybe this is why Santa says Ho Ho Ho? Did we drop “and a bottle of rum” or just add it to the egg nog?

James, who really loves pirates and Christmas is stunned by this great good news. He (and Molly) have already made a holiday tableau in the window.