By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
The day after Christmas seems surreal. After the flurry of choosing gifts, wrapping presents, baking biscotti, making fudge, and savory dinners, the day after The Big Day, is a bit of a letdown. Yet imbibing a cup of hot tea with the family as we tried to look refreshed at the breakfast table was laid back and cheerful. Although my thought had been to ramble around the charming brick street village of my brother’s town, taking a peek in the boutiques, and flipping through books at the new little bookstore, it was not to be. While my dear sister-in-law Kelley and I figured we were invited to my niece Lauren’s new in-laws for dinner that evening, it turned out that dinner would be at 2:30 p.m.
“No matter,” I told myself, “It means I will have to return for browsing in the village at a later date.”
We ducked over to Lauren and Justin’s to meet their cat Oliver. I chuckle over their naming their black cat Oliver, for I had a white cat named Oliver for ten years. Oliver is quite a character, like most cats I know, but he is affectionate, playful and an all round darling furry fellow.
My niece’s husband Justin has the nicest family. They are of French Canadian extraction, and up until two years ago, they lived in Vermont. His father is a computer wizard and his mother taught French for years in a Vermont secondary school. Each time we have dined with them, the food Ann cooks is a marvel of French Canadian with a twist of Vermont cuisine. December 26th’s fare proved fine too. We have learned that Vermont folks use a preponderance of their tasty maple syrup in dishes such as simmered beans, baked ham, and, I think it might have also been in one of the savory meat pies. As an Italian American in the Heartland, I grew up thinking maple syrup poured over a stack of pancakes was how one ate maple syrup, mighty good it was. However, Anna, Jim, their son Justin and daughter Sabreena have happily broadened my maple syrup horizons.
We all exchanged gifts, and talked, and laughed as we marveled at the sunshine offsetting the chilly weather. After coffee and Buche de Noel, we piled into the car and headed back to Frank and Kelley’s. In looking over the landscape of Christmas Eve with Uncle Sam’s family, Christmas Day with my brother Frank’s family, and the day after Christmas with Justin’s family, I realized once more how grand this Christmas of 2013 was because we spent it with those we love best.