Daily Journey Journal #209: ham diving

From December 22, 2014

We all know those stories about wicked step-mothers but, I’m here to tell you, not all step-mothers come with an evil streak. In fact, I would be prepared to say that J, my step-mom, is the kindest, most generous person I know. Wicked is just not a word that fits into her description, unless you’re talking about her awesome baking and crocheting skills!
Every year, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, J provides multiple local families in need with holiday dinners. This year J is giving twelve families full Christmas dinners, which means lots and lots of shopping. In the past, I haven’t been around to help out, but on this frosty, frigid morning I was set to venture into the dreaded Wal-Mart with J to face the holiday crowds. Shopping is not one of J’s favorite things, but her kind, giving heart pulls her to the store every year to help those who wouldn’t otherwise have a delicious meal.
On this particular Monday morning, Wal-Mart wasn’t nearly as crazy as we anticipated. The miniature blizzard filling the town seemed to have kept many people at home. We had no problem getting through the store and starting on the shopping list in its several page length.
On the list were potatoes, onions, candy canes, green beans, eight cartons of butter, one turkey and eleven hams. Everything was going smoothly until we got to the hams. Much to our surprise, the hams were far bigger than we were anticipating and unsuitable for our needs. We circled the ham cooler, searching for smaller sizes and at first glance, came up empty handed. J, being calm in most all situations, continued on with the shopping and then we returned to the cooler. There had to be something that would work.
And then, we saw one. A perfect sized ham for a family of three. It was wedged beneath several larger ones. J wiggled it out and I started peaking at the others, hoping for some like sized cuts. Now, there is something you should know about me. I am vegetarian and as such, meat is not really my favorite thing. I haven’t the foggiest notion how to cook it, let alone decide which raw pieces are good and which are not. But, there is virtually nothing I wouldn’t do to help J, especially for something as kind as her giving, so it was time to get over the he-bee-gee-bees about raw meat.
Deep breath, smile and in we go! I started shifting around the hams, ignoring the weird liquid in some of the packages and the slight stickiness beginning to coat my hands. We found a couple more right-sized hams and then we got serious. I rolled up my sleeves and dove in, shifting, moving, pulling and plucking out the perfect hams. One by one, J stacked them in the cart until we had eleven bulging out from the bottom.
We were set.
Tomorrow, J will take the food to Cheyenne to deliver to the families and on Christmas day they will be able to share the day with loved ones without worrying about the cost. If this were a fairy tale J would not be the step-mom, but rather the fairy godmother. Luckily for me, this isn’t a fairy tale and I get to call this wonderful person family.

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