Guest Commentary: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

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I did such a stupid thing. Christmas eve, after a lovely skype with Colin and Cara, I headed out to the freezer to pull out the ham.

Now, I should have done this thing earlier, but it was going to be a bit of a job. There were now four vension (Tim’s son gave us a big old doe he got for our ‘hamburger deer’.) This was a last-minute thing. Tim said, “We could do that ourselves….” and I said, “You need to take that out to be processed, Tim, because between homeschooling and Christmas, I do not have the time to help you with another deer. (Let alone do the grinding required to turn it into hamburger)

After 23 years, he knows when not to push it. He took the deer out to be professionally cut up and ground.

But, as usual, I’ve gotten off-topic.

We now have four deer in the freezer, which is not a problem, but it is a chest freezer, and Tim just sort of dropped the meat in there. It really would not have been a big deal. The venison from the previous year was gone, but he had buried the vegetables that I’d processed. At the end of every holiday season, I buy a couple of turkeys and a couple of hams when they are on sale. I put them away and use them throughout the year. They, too, were buried under all that fresh venison.

I should have gotten that ham out early, but it was going to require some sorting out. I knew where it was. The freezer could use some organization. Long story short, when I got that reorganization done, I discovered that I had one turkey left, but NO HAM! ‘Twas also the night before Christmas, and too late to thaw a turkey.

So we set off. We headed to our regular grocery store. They were sold out of ham. ‘No problem,’ we naively thought and headed off to another grocery store. They were sold out of ham as well, although Tim did find a stuffed wallet in a freezer of Jimmy Dean sausage on sale for $1.50 a pound. He pulled it out and was headed to customer service with it when he met up with the frantic owner who thanked him over and over and over again.

Buoyed with good wishes, we headed off to the third store, a high-end grocery store that we rarely go to. They, too, were sold out of ham. Stores would be closing shortly, and we didn’t have a lot of time to figure out what we were going to do. Tim said, cheerfully, “We’ll just have turkey.” I said, “Tim, we haven’t got time to get one thawed.” He looked a little gobsmacked. I wasn’t exactly sure why he was just now figuring that out.

He began looking at beef roasts. I said, “Here’s a nice one.” He looked at the $140. price tag and nearly swallowed his tongue. He said, “Boy, I’m glad we have venison in the house.”

There was one last store in our little town, a small operation, known for its meats, and we headed there with no real hope. Tim said, “If we don’t find a ham, we’ll just have to figure out something else.”

We walked into the last store and what to our wondering eyes should appear but hams. Their pricing was higher than the other sold-out stores, but the ham prices were a lot less jolting than the beef prices at the previous store, so Tim picked up that ham and we were mighty grateful.

We drove home in the rain, and I apologized again. That was a stupid mistake and if I had attempted to pull that ham out earlier, we would not have been in the time crunch. That procrastination had cost us money too.

We had a light supper while watching the news. We were especially interested in the weather since a terrible storm was bearing down on us from the west. That heavy rain we’d been getting was supposed to change to snow about 8:00 and road conditions were supposed to get dicey. Depending on which weather report you subscribed to, we were supposed to get between 4 and 11 inches. The wind was supposed to pick up. The temperatures drop. The radio had talked of nothing but that all day. Now the television news was full of dire warnings.

At 8 PM, I found “It’s a Wonderful Life” and settled in to watch it again. Tim was bored because he doesn’t get the attraction of watching a movie you’ve already seen unless of course someone is being shot in it. He wandered off into the office.

I missed the part where George and Mary dance themselves off into the water. They interrupted to bring us a special report about the weather front moving in. It didn’t arrive at 8, but it was on the way, and it was going to be bad. The movie resumed and was interrupted every 30 minutes thereafter to bring us an update about the weather moving in. I was getting grumpy. Tim was interested in the reports enough to come back out of the office and sit down on the couch. He didn’t doze off this year because he wanted to catch those updates.

“THAT’S IT!” Nick yells. “Out you two pixies go! Through the door or out the window!” and Clarence and George land in the snow.

Tim said, “Have we seen this before?”

23 years, people.
Tim said, “Gees. I guess I fell asleep before the second half.”

By the time we got to George praying his prayers on the bridge, Tim was hooked.

At the end, I was wiping tears as if I’d never seen it before. Tim was saying, “This was a very nice movie,” as if HE’D never seen it before.

We watched the 11 o’clock news. The lead story was that terrible storm moving in. It was slow-moving, but it was going to be a baddy. They were now calling for it to move in about midnight.

When we woke up Christmas morning, the first thing we did was open the blinds to take a look at what had happened overnight. It was shocking. The back yard and the vehicles were covered with a full half-inch of snow.

Debby Hornburg lives in Warren, is deciding whether she’s really retired or not, and is hoping someone will teach her how to wallpaper. She also has her own blog which you can find here.