Today in England we have a second public holiday, or as we call them, bank holiday. The 26th December is known as Boxing Day, or as it is officially known, St Stephen’s Day. St Stephen was the first Christian Martyr and celebrated in the Latin Church on 26 December and on 27 Dec in Eastern Christianity (source Wikipedia).
In past times, this was the day that servants received a Christmas box from their “master” and were given the day off so they could pass the box to their families.
In the mornings I am always awake and up first. I make tea and take my Thyroxine and other pills. I then watch the birds from the kitchen window before heading back to bed with my tea for an iPad fix! Today though I am feeling a bit nostalgic. So in a reflective mood, I venture down the garden. I probably look quite a sight – PJ’s, Crocs and my homey slouch cardigan. The garden is gradually getting to how we want it. I am not much of a gardener. The Butcher green finger gardening gene missed me completely. Just as well I married someone who is!
The bulbs planted by a previous owner are beginning to pop through the soil, but I can only make a guess what they will grow into. I stood on the pathway that runs alongside our garage, hearing a neighbour calling a pet, though I cannot make out the name. Our pet is upstairs sleeping. At aged 10, Alfie is beginning to show his age, he has though the beautiful temperament and genetics of a Border Terrier.
As a child, today was the day I sat and wrote the thank you notes to all those who had bought me gifts. Looking back now, recalling who bought for me, I feel very lucky. My Great Aunts, my maternal Grandfather’s sisters, bought for me until I was 21. They had children and grandchildren of their own, so it was special that they bought for me all those years ago. All are no longer with us, a sad but true fact of life.
My Cousin’s daughter celebrates her 21st birthday today. I left a message via Facebook for her, sharing a greeting across the 10,000 mile distance between us. In doing so, I think back to my 21st birthday.
I celebrated it at a hotel in Godalming called The Inn on the Lake. All the people I held dear were there, and it was a select and small group. My Mum and maternal Grandmother, my Great Aunt who was also my Godmother, two dear friends, one of which I had known since I was eight, so currently 42 years and finally a couple who were family friends. Joyce had met my Grandmother, then aged 26 and newly married when she was 14 years of age, having been evacuated from Kingston upon Thames to Guildford. That relationship was shared until the last passed away. So something special, spanning the generations, born out of a frightening and turbulent time.
My late Mum was given the middle name of Joyce, and my Grandmother was always called Aunt Lil by Joyce and I always called Joyce and her husband Aunt and Uncle, out of respect, as I was taught to do. Years later, I was told to drop the formalities which I did, but the happy memories and friendship continued up until Joyce and her husband passed away, just a few years ago. I have a series of photographs taken from that night and as I looked at them recently, I was experiencing a memory of that night, plus the observation that all except my two dear friends are now deceased.
As I write this, my late Mum’s clock chimes 10 am, and I realise that I have been in a reflective and nostalgic mood for two hours. Writing this Desk Ramblings which was not a planned post at all, and all started from looking out of the kitchen window at the birds and garden, having left a birthday greeting on Facebook.
I am reminded that our memories are precious and appear in the current mind quite organically. We just need to be able to take the time to remember the happiness of our yesterdays.
Happy Boxing Day!