I believe in Honey Baked Ham, and Bread Rolls. Every Christmas night, my family goes to my Aunt Terry’s for dinner. Everyone would arrive and of course my Uncle Rueben’s family would be the last ones there. We would wait for what seemed like hours for them to arrive with presents and laughs for all. I still remember the kiss on the forehead he would always give me while asking me how I was, and my mother was. We had lived in Austin for years, and we didn’t get to see them too often. The laughter would fill the room as we played bunco and Philadelphia Rummy. Then it would be time for prayer and food. The food was always Honey Baked Ham with all the trimmings, and bread rolls. Always, always good, and always, always filling. Presents would ensue with cake to follow. Then the night would be over, and we would all wish each other the best till next time.
But the Christmas of 2005 was not the same. My Uncle Rueben died of May of that year, crippling my grandparents and the family to mere carcasses idling around the same house every holiday. My mother went into a deep depression, and the one thing to help her was the memory of every Christmas, watching home videos given to us on newly fastened DVD’s. Memories of her little brother, boxing on their beds and opening Christmas presents together filled the living room before his death. But after it was like that video and those memories never existed. She would cry herself to sleep, and I would only be able to hold her and try to comfort a broken heart. But when we had ham and rolls, her smile would return and we would be able to laugh again. Truly laugh, from the depths of our hollowed out souls, so broken only a glimmer of hope might be able to come out.
And it was only at Christmas dinner, once again with the family, waiting for my uncle’s family, now known as my Aunt Debbie’s family, to make their grand entrance once more. But prayer was not so easy any more. The once seamless strain of words wishing a happy new year and healthy lives once again, now filled with rips of tears from all, and though the children were trying to keep quiet, it was hard not to think about anything else then my 75 year old grandmother kicking and screaming after she realized my uncle was gone. But the food, the food was still just as amazing. The comfort of these two foods was more than words could express. I love them to this day, and every time I eat them, together or apart, and remember the good times, the happy times.
Then I think of the good times to come, and the laughter buried within us.
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