Donner and Blitzen
It’s August, so this is not about Santa’s reindeer. Even Australians, who celebrate Christmas at the beach, know that this blatantly commercial, former pagan feast falls in December. This is about weather.
Florida may suffer from hurricanes, tropical depressions, and thunderstorms (reported by forecasters seeking different adjectives to describe the same weather, as frequent, occasional, isolated, or chance, and which build during the heat of the day and dissipate quickly); Germany is visited by bands of thunderstorms imbedded in frontal systems that sweep across the country.
Fire departments in this country spend more time pumping cellars and cutting trees, which have fallen on roofs or streets, than they do squirting water on fires. House fires are rare, due to German discipline (perhaps), solid stone houses, and strict electrical codes. Frequent culprits of infrequent blazes are faulty space heaters (yes, there are a few poor citizens), smoking in bed, and neglected candles on Advent wreaths...which brings us back to Christmas.
So, what’s with Santa’s reindeer that dance on roofs like so many falling branches after a storm? Donner is the German word for thunder, and Blitz is lightening (someone took poetic license in writing The Night Before Christmas). Surprisingly, it is not a “Donnerstorm”, but rather ein Gewitter. There: I snuck in a Special Bonus Pack trio of German Word of the Day...
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.