Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Spam and Forty Years

Christmas Spam and Forty Years There are two kinds of Spam in the world. One is annoying, the other edible, although there are many who think the edible version is also annoying, or worse. Diane, for one, hates Spam, the meat-like substance in a can. But I love the stuff. In fact, I found a kindred spirit in my nephew Erik, who also loves Spam. Whenever we get together, either here in Montana or there in the Netherlands, we always set aside one day for a Spam eggstravaganza. I discovered in the book Year Zero that I come by my love of Spam naturally, being one of the foods supplied to hungry Dutchmen after their liberation from Nazi rule in 1945. You might say I eat Spam to honor my country’s liberators as well as the Dutch spirit that did not buckle. Or not. This of course means that I have Spam once in a very great while, maybe every two years. I told my grandson Xander about Spam and how much Opa loves it. I even got him to try it – a piece smaller than half a kernel of corn. He spat it out, gagging. “I hate Spam, Opa!” he proclaimed. But then he lightened, telling me, “But I’ll like Spam when I am twenty.” He is six. Oma thinks he has discerning taste. Now I have a running joke with him, asking him if he would like Spam milkshakes or Spamcakes, to which he usually responds, half smiling, “Opa! I don’t like Spam.” “Try it.” I say, “Try it and you might.” But of course he already did try it. I even told him this Christmas that maybe Santa would put some Spam in my stocking. Xander told Papa Frank about my love of Spam. Papa Frank also likes Spam. In fact, he bought several case lots some time ago. So when Xander told him, Frank immediately led Xander to his stash and had him carry up a case for me. It’s a Costco case, with six large tins of original Spam – a veritable treasure trove worthy of the Dragon Smaug. Frank, who just underwent triple bypass surgery, explained that he didn’t think Spam was on his menu planner anymore. Besides, he still had two more cases in his larder. After we got home Diane noticed that the Spam in the case had an out date of December, 2013 – a year ago. I was shocked. I did not know that Spam had a shelf life; I mean, jars found in archaeological digs in Egypt containing Spam proved to be edible after millennia. So I am debating if the out date really matters. Tomorrow I will not eat Spam, and that is a promise. Tomorrow is the fortieth anniversary of the day Diane and I got married. We will celebrate with very little pomp and circumstance. We know that forty is a big deal – twice as long as Derek Jeter’s major league career. We had thoughts of celebrating in Europe before fiscal reality set in (as it always does – rudely). We now are shooting for the Big 4-2 for the big trip. It gives us time to save our stuivers, and 42 is a magical number that has followed me around my entire life. Besides, 40 is just a number, one of many passed and many to come. We have had our ups and downs, but mostly ups. We have been very fortunate in our lives together. Even our worst times were better than many people’s best times. Friends and family continue to be our inspiration and our joy. People salute us for our forty years. Diane likes to tell them dumb luck brought us together and a lack of imagination keeps us so. The truth is, our deep and ever deeper friendship is the key. That, and love. But she still hates Spam.

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