Ham and the American Male

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I went to see my cousins on the 4th of July, figuring that I could get to see more of them when they were off work on a holiday. My uncle and aunt bought a 10 pound ham to take to my youngest cousin’s place where we were expected with 15 to 20 other guests. I was looking forward to it.

Then the cousin calls. Something something something is said along with the phrase « I just can’t raise these kids on my own ». We are no longer going down his place with the ham, but he is coming here. His sons are going to party but the oldest will drive them up later. I assume he and his wife are having a spat.

I should say that in our family, many people would prefer to keep his wife over my cousin if they ever split up. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. She puts up with him, raises three sons, works full time a job with benefits for the whole family and sells insurance (for more money than she makes at her full time job) on the side. My cousin works part time and takes care of the kids more than she does.

He arrives and I give him a hug (he is my cousin, after all) and say « You sound like you’re having a tough day »….and…nothing. « No, I’m fine » he says, perplexed (maybe honestly so).

It was like this was the original plan and I’m blowing everything out of proportion. The only thing that reassures me that I’m not imagining things is the 10 pound ham, and the fact that there was nothing else to eat at my uncle’s place because, well, we were all leaving to go to a party that is no longer happening.

The nice thing in all this is that my cousin and I went to the beach and played in the waves for a half an hour. We body surfed and chatted about nothing, and it’s the first time in decades that I spent time just with him and not with his wife and kids around.

And then we went home and ate ham for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.  I still have leftovers if anyone is interested.

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