That Time My Dad Bought My Mum a 30 Pound Ham for Christmas

Merry Christmas! How you doin’? Me? It’s 10 p.m. on Christmas Day and I’m running a fever. Because obviously.

So because Mum had to take care of Aunt for a couple days we had the big family celebration not on Christmas Eve as usual but on Christmas Day. Which, in hindsight, was a clever ploy of fate because on Christmas Eve I felt all shipshape and Bristol fashion, but today was another story. All morning I’d felt sort of queasy. Hadn’t slept much, because I somehow woke up at 7 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. That’s never a good sign. Sometime after lunch my back started hurting so bad. Also not a good sign. And now I’m here chained to my bed, and not the sexy kind, heating pad on my back like an old lady and running temperature. Awesome. When I said I was going to take it easy for a few days I didn’t mean this. Anyway.

Maybe now I’ll have time to try this new battery powered manicure set my mum gave me. Are my nails finally gonna look fancy and like I have my shit together?

Anyway, Dad got whiskey, Mum got stuff for her phone (first smart phone, already addicted) and a giftcard for as many kindle books as her device can eat, Great Aunt got food and wine (she’s 91 and a hoarder, we can’t really give her stuff), Boyfriend got his 237th Doctor Who DVD. And after all this… Dad comes in with a big box.

The box stands about 1 metre tall. It has a note taped to it that details the adventure Santa had to go on to get this thing, whatever it is. Dad grins. It is the grin of a dad who is terribly pleased with himself. The grin that has a joke coming. Armies have fled in terror before the Dad Grin. Those who see it seldom live to tell the tale. So Boyfriend and me proceed to open the box because Mum apparently has a terrible premonition and doesn’t want to.

The box contains a smoked Serrano ham. A whole one. Weighing roughly 15 kg, or 30 pounds. The whole pig’s leg without the foot. Smoked. From Spain. With a cutting board.

Mum lets her head fall into her hands and seems to scream internally.

I have a terrible flashback. This is probably my fault.

Roughly twelve years ago, during the weekly grocery shopping when I was still living with my parents (being severely underaged tends to do that to a person), I saw a giant ham at the market. Very similar to this one. And I may or may not have joked that this would be something for the next barbecue. My father, bless his kidneys, may have remembered that remark. For over a decade. This decision probably started with the sentence “Hey, didn’t Kiddo say she wants something like that?”

Yes. Maybe. As a joke. Back before there were smart phones. Back before there was Youtube. Dad, why?

Back in the present, Mom seems trapped between laughing and yelling. Dad is grinning from ear to ear. I secretly dub the whole affair Hamgate 2015.

“But it’s Serrano ham You like Serrano ham. Everyone likes Serrano ham.” – “But what are we going to do with it?” – “Eat it.” – “This will go bad within days!” – “No, we’ll just eat it!” – “Alright, tomorrow you’ll cut this thing into nice thin slices and deliver it in portions to your aunt, the children, and the neighbours! Have fun cutting for two hours!”

Paraphrasing, of course. The half laughed and half despairing argument went on for half an hour. And that is why there is a 30 pound leg of ham on my parent’s balcony. I’m going to keep telling this story until I’m 90.

So… guess I’ll wait for a ham delivery tomorrow. Wonder if this works out or if mum makes herself a widow tonight by use of a 30 pound pig’s leg. If nothing else, this was a present to remember. It will probably be brought up as a stern warning for the next, oh, let’s say twenty years.

Maybe next year we’ll get a wheel of cheese to go with the ham, but I better not say anything out loud in front of Dad.

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