One Woman, Two Men and a Ham
A woman walks into a big name grocery outlet to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Her cart has only a few items in it when she notices a huge pile of hams in a cooler, Olympic, double smoked, her favourite. Maybe I should pick up a ham for the holiday, she thinks.
She envisions the cooked ham on her festive family dinner table complete with perogies, cabbage rolls, baked beans, mashed potatoes, and even gravy, or maybe that special sweet mustard sauce from a secret family recipe she received from her son’s ex-girlfriend.
The woman can see her adult daughter enjoying one of her favourite dinners – ham. The woman sees her adult son putting up with one of his least favourite dinners – ham. The woman sees her husband chowing down as all good Mennonites do when the opportunity to eat presents itself. Eat first-talk later. Adult children from large poor families know this survival technique very well.
The woman proceeds to sort through numerous cuts of ham in the cooler. Most of them are too big. You can’t really freeze left over ham, she thinks. I will need to find a ham that is just perfect, one that will fit into my orange 40-year-old cast iron fry pan. The orange pan, a wedding gift from her first marriage, carries memories. She muses briefly.
As she is bent over hauling the heavy hams from one side of the cooler to the other the first man walks up and reaches into the cooler. He grabs the ham closest to him, puts it in his cart and walks away.
The woman is shocked! How can he just pick a random ham like that? Men, they just don’t get it. She continues to haul the hams around the cooler fearing she may not find the right size. What if my purse gets stolen from my cart while I am bent over the hams?
The woman pauses, stands up, stretches out her aching back and grabs her purse, slinging the long strap across her body. Years ago she bought a cross body bag for situations just like this, where you need both hands and you want your purse close by. She momentarily reminisces about the purse-shopping spree at this very same store. She bends over again.
The second man comes up to the cooler, grabs the first ham he can reach and walks away. A bead of sweat trickles down her armpit. The woman is ticked. She is tired, hot and frustrated. Check the best before date… It’s only two weeks from today! Quickly she runs over her pre-planned menus for the upcoming family gatherings. She realizes she cannot schedule a ham dinner within the two-week safety period. Ham gets slimy when it’s old.
Holding a reasonable sized ham in her hands, the battle-fatigued woman tosses the ham back in the cooler like a grenade. She walks away and wonders what the symptoms are for Christmas Ham PTSD.