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My Saint Nick

The image of the true Saint Nicholas (left) is reproduced by permission of Allegheny College

"A Star To Steer Me By"

Perhaps everyone has their own "Jolly Old Saint Nick" making the season happy and loving. I thought I would take this opportunity to offer a pretty personal perspective, this December,since it is also a little gift to my family and to the extended family who knew "Our Nicki"!!

Sorry, he was an ordinary middle-sized middle class engineer, and I have fond recollections of him at Christmastime as "The Little Engine that Could" - by George, he kept on dancing for hours although finally crashing from an excess of liquid refreshment right into the well-decorated tree! In spite of ageing and illness, he was a powerhouse, and after much sorrow in life,he kept on loving and giving. I keep a small tree decoration for him, a gold-plated railway engine. The Little Engine That Could - he was my Dad, though his name was not sainted. It was just "Nick" Negodaeff.


My Father made a point of surprising and gifting everyone he could think of during both Christmas and Hanukkah. He was the most generous, unspoiled person I've ever known.

No-one was turned away if they hadn't a family to sup with on Christmas Day. For our Jewish friends, there was Manischevitz and a great deal of party food, flowers and song.* He sailed home to my Mother with enormous pots of blooms, because he, himself , loved flowers, having been raised on a truck market flower garden until he was sixteen.

I remember his taste and humility as he tried to gift each member of our family in such a way that we had something very special- even if he couldn't afford it. Although he had been raised Russian Orthodox,and, at one point had wished to be a priest; he had turned away from religion after seven years of warfare in WW2.

But he had never lost the spirit of the thing.


My most cherished memory of Christmas and "Our St. Nick" is the year we found ourselves terribly impoverished.

We were raised in shattered post-war England, and our family was on rationed food until I was eight years old.

That year, even though my Dad was privileged to be paid an engineers' wage, we hadn't money for a tree or fun food, and I could feel my young Dad so tenderly suppressing the tears he felt in his heart, worried that we little ones would be so disappointed.

"But we must have a tree" I can remember crying -"How will we light the candles?"- It just won't be Christmas!

Natures' Gifts

chestnut graphicTwo days before the holidays, our family went into the cool woods of Epping Forest to find chestnuts. We found a good stand, and picked our own beautiful nuts for the fire. Dad went out on Christmas Eve Day, and when he returned, he had gathered pine boughs cut three or four feet high.

He asked for a large vase, and he placed the scented boughs into some water in a corner of the room.

"Well, go to it, girls" he called, delighted with the day - " The decorations are all yours!".

We placed the small glass globes and cones onto the boughs, sprinkling huge cards of tinsel icicles upon the pine, until it sparkled with what we knew, even at our tiny ages, was love.

Together, we roasted our lovely, fresh chestnuts, and truly rejoiced! I will never forget my Dads' caring heart, almost broken inside, and his love for our little family.


He was an ordinary man. Nick was often quite gruff and angry, but he chose to go out on a limb for hundreds of people in trouble, under the auspices of the Medical firm for which he worked, Philips Electronics.

There were horrors in the world about which I knew very little; I was a sheltered young person.

catholic churchI would like to tell you what he "willed" to me post partum. As an amateur crystallographer, my Father had offered his services to some of the most esoteric of explorers of religious archeological history.

In Saint Marys' church in Carleton Place, Ontario, there was a huge rock which was being lovingly sculpted by Artist David Lajeunesse.

It was meant to be a baptismal font, and held actual gem images from space of the curved, high rooved stable in Bethlehem, Mother Mary and Child, and of a shepherd on the outskirts.

It also had a life-sized image of one of the early women of the period configured in many natural green garnets.

This rock had apparently rolled in from the coast, and emerged under or near the church. As I meditated upon its' richness, I was aware of my Father saying "Be the little golden bear".

A Little Kodiak Bear

I looked at the rock, and imagined being in antiquity, looking from afar at where the rock had come from. Sure enough, I saw a little Kodiak bear, being was curious about what had happened in the forest.

To my knowledge, after I had meditated on the sight and sound of this phenomenal relic, I could see that the bear had seen a small, flying light craft crashland and settle to the rich Canadian forest of the period.

Two people had manned that paper dart-shaped, white craft, a young man and a small woman in pale lilac silk brocade. I believe that she survived and met with indigenous people of the area, though the sight of their misfortune was very sad.

Somehow, those people who taught us how to relate after earth trauma during a millenium cycle, had left to us the image of Christs' birth, and then of themselves, in the fossil remains of this landed glider.

The little bear had sniffed around and had left something of photonic significance.I knew my Dad had annotated the discovery.

The Navigator

On a second occasion, I was scrutinizing a small, comma- shaped crystal I had found in the earth.

I saw a huge version of the glider sail in above what looked like a Chinese junk with thin wooden sails. It's nosecone looked like a glowing, pale green-yellow ball, rather like a gold tourmaline. It sank where it had landed, and I witnessed what must have been the Navigator for the craft, trapped in the linen folds of its interior by the snows that had come to terrify the explorer , lost in a strange land.

rug detailing history

The Captains' Message

Around the early captain, there was a large, bird shaped blue felt form. On its exterior were pressed and raised images of pomegranate fruit - something I had read about in the formation of the Temple in Exodus.

"And they moved from town to town in a large cloud" I remember reading: something like that- I often repeated this to myself in wondering at the mysteries of the past.

I heard a person translate the captains' message- he was recently in the belief that there was only one God.

It was new, and he was iffy about it. He wore Egyptian cosmetics under his eyes- the bright coloured gem pastes were not for vanity, but to help him catch the stars pattern in his navigation strategy.

And he looked like a Cohen! It had been some time surviving on his own when he spoke aloud, to have unwittingly recorded the comment for posterity.

A Star to Steer Me By

Sea Fever


I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheelís kick and the windís song and the white sailís shaking,
And a grey mist on the seaís face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gullís way and the whaleís way where the windís like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trickís over.

This is what my Dad came to point out, even though he had died that year. His memory told me that the captain had even found the proverbial "star to steer me by" of poetic fame ("I will go down to the tall ships, to the lonelyships and the sky").

That 'star' surely guided the man to safety and life in this new land. My Fathers memory made my discovery very special, and I gave the gem to a special scientist, so that the early Pilot would be honoured.

Yes, he was a humble man, and he did very much of this work without ever telling a soul.

Without scientists like Nick, so many of the more mysterious events recorded in the world would go unsung. And that work was just his hobby. So my discovery of the flight craft and the rich records was my most fabulous gift from "Our Saint Nick".

mistletoeIt's Christmas again, and his spirit lives in my eternal Jewish soul*1 to love and gift others, and to cherish the experience.
This story is my gift to you, the reader, especially those Doctors and Nurses whose vision and expertise has uncovered so much in World Health, to bring us close to health enlightenment. Cheers, and Happy Holidays to everyone!

And, I love you, Dad.

Love from Sue

*1The Freedom to Evolve

My Father made a point of surprising and gifting everyone he could think of during both Christmas and Hanukkah. mistletoeHe was the most generous, unspoiled person I've ever known. No-one was turned away if they hadn't a family to sup with on Christmas Day. For our Jewish friends, there was Manischevitz and a great deal of party food, flowers and song.

The concepts of Western religions Judaism and Christianity gave us the profundity of the Democratic principles part of the world enjoys in this modern era. Gifts and Manischevitz aside, since this story is written in the spirit of both partying and in parting, perhaps you would enjoy the gift to Democracy which my sister, Margaret Irene Negodaeff, has written, in the honour of the first lady in Canadian Medicine- Dr. Leonora King. Below is a link to a book review of her biographical work.

Links to the story of Saint Nicholas


  Metropolitan Museum: Byzantine

2. Read more than below, of The story of St. Nicholas

'Saint Nicholas is the patron saint (better, protecter) of children, mariners, pawnbrokers (go figure), and the countries of Greece and Russia, to name just a few of those who have turned to this saint of God for assistance. He departed this life on December 6, c. 330 A.D.'

Wikipedia Story of St. Nicholas

Listen to the Apolitikion of St. Nicholas:

See Music Link. Troparion




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