Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day

This is a holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom on the day after Christmas. There are disparate theories as to the origins of the term. However, the common thread is that it is a day to give small gifts or stipends to those who have served you during the year. One version claims that in medieval times, the serfs and their families all showed up at the castle to receive a box of goods. Later…in Elizabethan England, tradespeople came to the back door of the manor and the goods became something akin to bonuses taking the form of coins. Either way…the items were in a box, hence the name.

Who now, in my life today, would be the tradespeople who would come to my door? The mail carrier who delivers the mail at a different time every day? The mysterious Oregonian delivery person who comes in the night and is never seen? The UPS guy who knocks and runs and tries to be out of sight before I get to the door? The A-A Rite roofer who fixed the leak but spoke only Spanish and therefore could not communicate the estimate? The greeter at Wal-Mart who lives up the street and is way older than I am?

Maybe the vet? The dentist? The guys at Jiffy Lube? The checker at Safeway? The salesclerk at Craft Warehouse? The librarians at the local branch? The teller at the bank? The operator on the Max train to downtown? Unseen and unknown but very competent persons at the utilities like Comcast, Verizon, PG&E, and Waste Management? All the ODOT workers in orange vests? The webmaster at Google?

It is certainly an interesting exercise to sit down and think about all the people who make my life easier and whose names, for the most part, I do not know. People I will never meet. People who work at odd hours in all kinds of weather. Although I cannot do it personally by handing them a box, I do thank them for their service.


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