A Word in Edgewise 12/26/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

This show was not recorded for archives so R.W. has provided this transcript:

For a while yesterday afternoon up here in Orono, Maine we had 25 cubed — the 25th of December with 25 degrees Fahrenheit and 25 knots of wind.

But as dawn breaks this morning, we’re barely above zero, with the slenderest of crescent Moons in the southeast sky, complemented by Saturn below and Antares off to one side
— and Spica the spectroscopic binary star 245 light years away from Earth and thus one of the brightest stars in the sky and the brightest star in the constellation Virgo vying for
attention . . .

Also vying for attention during this last week of 2016 the day after Christmas is Boxing Day, a national holiday in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Today is also the feast day of
Saint Stephen, the patron saint of horses, explaining why Boxing Day over the years has become associated with horse racing and fox hunting.

Numerous literary accounts regarding Boxing Day reach back through the Victorian era and into the preceding Colonial period, with Samuel Pepys mentioning in a Diary entry from December 1663: “Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something to the boys’ box against Christmas.”

By 1668 Pepys’ tone was somewhat different regarding his efforts for Boxing Day: “Called up by drums & trumpets; these things & boxes having cost me much money this Christmas.”

Such were the not-so-subtle laments nearly 350 years ago from the haves concerning their generosity to the have-nots.

Of certain British impressions upon the globe, America deigned not to contribute, as seen by our neighbors to the north — in Canada — observing Boxing Day, but we in the US

Fox hunts — that particularly British use of big animals to chase little ones — became banned in England back in 2004, although 250,000 Brits turned out this past year to support hunting, reports The Telegraph — which goes on to say that “shopping has become the new blood sport . . . [with St. Stephen’s Day having] become a holy day of consumerism.”

St. Stephen, we might remember, was the first Christian martyr — or protomartyr. In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day is one of nine official public holidays — and is also called the Day of the Wren, or Wren’s Day. People will dress up in old clothes, wear straw hats, and travel door to door with artificial wrens — to replace the real wrens that were once killed in previous eras. In some counties, the participants are known as wren boys or Mummers.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pond, we here in Maine await a mixed bag of weather forecast to arrive this afternoon — and ponder what’s left during these remaining six days of 2016.

Until we meet again on the other side of the calendar, at the beginning of 2017, from Orono, Maine, Happy New Year!

rwe edgeword @ 2016