UPS and FedEx packages not making it in time for Christmas made national news, and in our case it concerned the staple of our family meal — the Christmas ham.
A few days into December I’d decided to simplify things and ordered a Honey Baked ham. We’d be hosting Christmas and had also just decided to drive 800-plus miles each way with the kids on Dec. 26th to visit ailing relatives who couldn’t be with us.
Alas, when our guaranteed by or before Dec. 23 shipment didn’t arrive, and my husband checked the tracking only to find our ham was still in Anaheim, I knew I’d be making a tornado of dirty pots and pans before leaving town after all.
Still hoping in UPS’s promised delivery, and turning a blind eye to the news shipping delays nationwide were a top story, I didn’t make a new game plan until later in the afternoon on Christmas Eve when the mail trucks finally settled in for a much-needed rest.
I remembered a neighbor had just told me she’d called on Nugget to help with her Christmas dinner because her husband was having surgery. With two little kids and older relatives in town, she could focus on them and tend to her husband while Nugget did the bulk of the work. I didn’t need as much help as she did, but I needed encouragement.
As reality set in I dashed to Nugget. Within minutes Bobby in the meat department greeted me with a calm and friendly, “How may I help you?” as I scurried from turkeys and seafood, frazzled as I inspected hams and then various cuts of beef.
Bobby wore all white, foreshadowing the angel he turned out to be. Very quickly I poured out my story, how I’d already bought all the ingredients for sides to go with ham but I doubted my culinary abilities. Maybe I should go with turkey, a roast, even lamb (even though I’ve never eaten the latter).
In minutes Bobby helped me plan a menu that was better than before and he even jotted down instructions for the best, foolproof roast ever that will have a permanent spot in my recipe box (and I even got a little ham for the kids which he promised would be better than Honey Baked if I followed his glazing instructions, which turned out to be true). In all my years grocery shopping I’ve never had anyone be there to help and make me feel like the only customer in the store during such a busy time for everyone else. I didn’t care anymore if I made a mess Christmas night. I was already proud of our Christmas dinner and knew it would turn out delicious. Plus I’d even spent less than on the 7-pound Honey Baked Ham (which was eventually rescued from our porch — and put out of its misery Dec. 28 — by a helpful neighbor).
I skipped out of Nugget, but not before literally hugging Bobby, wishing him a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years. It was a reminder to live in the moment, to shop local and, most important, to remember live interactions and helping our fellow man are still a top reason for the season.
Contact Julie Samrick at [email protected]