While Mom was busy these past weeks catching up with family and friends from Portland, I decided to go on a little adventure of my own. Last weekend was the Open Monument Day Icons & Symbols here in my new city of Leiden. I noticed a lot of these symbols around town…or I should say that I peed on a lot of them anyway. I slipped out while Mom and Dad were away to see what I could find out.
First I came across this small plaque on the front of many houses near where I live. They have red keys on them and have some other small symbols on the top. My tante Eefje says these mean the houses have been, and will be here for a long time! They are historic monuments and the buildings must remain in their original design in order to protect the history of Leiden.
Every day evil mail men and women come and put paper stuff through these small slots in the front of each door. On the outside of these slots you will find two different looking stickers with more symbols on them. The one on the front of our house says “Nee/Nee” and others say “Nee/ Ja”. I asked Siri what this meant and she said that the Nee/ Nee sticker means you will not get any junk mail, and no local free newspapers. The Nee/Ja sticker means you won’t get junk mail, but you will get your local newspaper.
Mom and Dad seem to really like these stickers because we don’t get any mail that isn’t important or special. Only letters and cards that make them smile.
Here are the things I pee on the most. I love them so much because all the other dogs leave detailed messages here, and I like to stop at each one of them and read the news before leaving my own message. They are posts with the crossed keys on them which are part of Leiden’s coat of arms. They represent the keys to the gates of Heaven handed over to St. Peter by Jesus Christ, in Matthew 18:19, “I will give you the keys of heaven…”.
The Leiden coat of arms is a red lion guarding a wall and standing above two crossed red keys. I heard that the lion stands for the strength and defiance that was demonstrated when the people of Leiden refused to surrender to the Spanish siege in 1573-74 even though they were being starved out! If that happened to me, I know I would be OK because the cat in my house would leave me little snacks to tide me over every day in his sandbox. Anyway, the siege was lifted—and the Spanish army left on October 3, 1574. This day is coming up soon and I guess there is going to be a HUGE party in the city. Mom said she was worried because all the noise might make me scared. But i’m jealous because she gets to eat herring and I am stuck at home.