I am fortunate to have really good neighbors- my immediate upstairs neighbor is a dream, working hard in house and yard, raising her two kids to be accomplished persons. She herself is a firecracker, a small gal, but mighty- she competes in triathlons, she laughs loud and often, and she doesn't take any guff from anybody. When she found out I was stuck at work on Christmas, she put aside a dinner plate for me:
This being Boxing Day (she's an Armagh gal by birth, a Yonkers gal by choice), she brought down this fine repast and I gave her a bottle of Bailey's (perhaps the best ever use of surplus product) as we exchanged holiday greetings. Calling the day St Stephen's Day is more of a southern thing, and wren hunting is more of a rural thing- it's funny how, for such a small country, there is so much difference in customs throughout Ireland... and Yonkers.
I spent a good portion of the afternoon on an overseas phone call with my older brother, Sweetums. He's doing well, and he related a funny anecdote about how his kids wanted to stay up all night rather than having to get up early for Christmas (it's a longstanding family trait- NONE of us ever wanted to go to sleep, out of concern for missing out on something). In a new, though not atypical, development, they all watched Monty Python's Life of Brian on Christmas Eve, ensuring that the kids would be singing this all day long. My brother's take on it is that, even thought there's some spicy content, there are no explosions or shooting in the film- and his oldest has taken some Latin in school, so he got this joke. I reminded him that watching the film really wasn't any more irreverent than some of the Christmas Eve booze fests we've had over the years. It's good to know that Sweetums is raising the kids right.
It's been a good day connecting with family- the nuclear family and the neighborhood family. That's what Boxing Day is all about, and no wrens had to be harmed.