The toast is for an old friend who isn't here to enjoy it. Stuart, one of only two teachers who became true friends, and John, his significant other, are the reason Greg and I still celebrate the holidays. As my dad got sicker and sicker through the Nineties, our holiday trips home became exercises in familial penance. The only thing which got us through was the knowledge that no matter how hard and cruel the Christmas, we would be enjoying dinner with Stuart and John the very next day. Boxing Day was our celebration.
Stuart left us this October. But tonight I'll be raising a glass of sherry (his favorite libation) and sending good thoughts--and maybe a phone call--John's way. They deserve all the thanks we can give.
Happy Boxing Day!