When I was young
central heating was introduced.
This posed a problem
for many parents.
How to deal with the fact
that by no means
Sinterklaas could use the chimney anymore?
the minds of the children
have their own logic.
Some just ignore the fact
and put their shoes under the heater.
My children decided
that they would put the shoes
in the little hall at the front door.
The neighbours love it
as they hear the clear voices
sing the traditional songs
almost every evening.
One should sing when the shoes are ready,
filled with a carrot,
or something else for the horse
and maybe a wishlist, a drawing,
or soemthing else for Sinterklaas or Zwarte Piet.
And ofcourse one should be
nice and quiet
because Zwarte Piet might hear
that you're naughty
and you won't get something nice in your shoes.
During the night one should stay in bed
Sint or Piet might be in the house.
It prevented me,
from getting a cold
or eating taai-taai or chocolate
in the middle of the night.
I can't remember how many nights
I was awake
listening to the winds blowing around our house
wondering how Sint and Piet
could be as persistent as they are
to go over the roofs
in such a weather.
But the few minutes
I dozed off
had been enough for Sint or Piet
to take the carrot out
and replace it
by pepernoten, a chocolate letter or my favorite:
a speculaas doll!