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Sunday, December 26, 2004

Boxing Day

In the USofA, we don 't pay attention to Boxing Day. It is the day after Christmas, the Feast of St. Stephen (the first Christian martyr). The term may come from the opening of church poor boxes that day; maybe from the earthenware boxes with which boy apprentices collected money at the doors of their masters' clients back in Victorian England. When I was a kid, I thought that it referred to stressed-out dysfunctional family members engaging in post-Christmas fisticuffs. Here at the Mr. G household, we are hosting a family party today - the turkey is in the oven, and I need to make a run to the liquor store. Mr. G's in-laws enjoy their fermented beverages.

Our Christmas was satisfying - not overdone. Christmas Day was fun for the little girlies and relaxing for the missus and me. We went to Quaker Meeting on Christmas Eve - silent worship, with some beautiful violin music and candlelight. After the Meeting, I hit Bill's Blues Bar, which was surprisingly full. There was a solo pianist/accordianist playing - Radoslav Lorkovic. Radoslav was born in Croatia in the late 1950's and came to the U.S. when he was 6 - he settled in Iowa City, IA. Iowa City is a hotbed of the blues - who knew? Radoslav's classical music career got sidetracked into the blues, and he has stayed on that track for the most part. He is a very accomplished musician, and he has had some brushes with fame (played on the Prairie Home Companion). Mr. G had to blow some harmonica with this guy. So I ended Christmas Eve wrapped up in the blues again - which was appropriate, since we lost Fred.

A small shrine had been erected at Bill's Blues Bar - a shrine to Fred the Mailman. On most days, Fred spent time after work at Bill's, enjoying a couple of Crown Royals after his shift as a mail carrier. He was a cheerful fella and much loved by the Bill's Blues Bar community. Fred missed his shift at the post office on Tuesday. Since he was single, his pals didn't know who to call to check up on him. On Wednesday, they found him in his apartment, dead of a heart attack at the age of 51. Fred was a big, affable ex-football playing black guy with a lot of friends. Fred's friends had spent some time at Bill's on Christmas Eve, building the shrine and drinking Crown Royal. Fred had planned to throw a Christmas party for his buddies at Bill's on Christmas Eve...

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