use the bone


We cooked a big ham for Christmas dinner.

It wasn’t huge…it didn’t need wheels to get it over to the oven.

But it was big. You don’t notice how much “more than you need” it is until everybody’s full…and the “pan of pig” is left and waiting to be put into the refrigerator so we can try and eat it later.

I took the bone, after I’d trimmed as much meat off it as I could, into a pot to boil down and make some bean soup today.

My parents used to do that with the ham bones that were left over.

They never sat me down for a “you must do this” talk…but it must be something I internalized, because every time we infrequently have a ham, I’m boiling the bone…getting ready for the soup to come.

I think I almost like the soup better than I like eating the ham.

It feels like I have to wade through the ham to get to the really good stuff…the soup I make out of the bone.

Nobody celebrates the “Christmas Hambone”, though.  I don’t see it advertised much.

I doubt that I could get away with trying to get everybody excited about the “Christmas Bone”.

I might come across as kind of a cheapskate.

“Gruel for Everybody!! Merry Christmas!!!”

“I love gruel!  Don’t you just love it?  Soooooo economical.”

I learned that I need six nails for stockings now.

I put up 5 out of habit…Jenny and I had to double up.

Sparrow seemed watchfully oblivious this year.

She didn’t really care that she didn’t get a lot of presents…mostly, she seemed more interested in the lights and the noisy unwrapping.

She’s not even quite a month old yet…so next year I suppose she’ll be up to speed with the “present action”.

What do you call that?  The “future present action”?  That’s kind of funny…the “future” present action.  Hah!

I just now figured out something about Christmas that I kind of like.

I like most things about Christmas.

The actual true meaning of Christmas is very cool…very cool.

Some of the “add-ons” can be kind of a pain in the rear…the commercialization and stresses that come with that…stuff like that aren’t so great.

But what I just realized is that Christmas has some momentum that carries over for a while after the actual day is over.

It’s hard to stop a moving train…and even though the stresses of getting the packages together…or planning the “big meal” have passed…some of the feelings carry on for a bit after the season has passed.

Christmas has “legs”.

That’s pretty cool, too.

It’s not something that we talk about.  Maybe talking about it is a “buzz killer”.  Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it…maybe it’s like staying still so you don’t scare away the hummingbird?


But you can’t stop “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” on a dime.

You just have to ride it all out.

That’s a good thing.  I like “residual kindness”.

So…put up six nails for the stockings, try to stay nice for a while (honor the momentum), return the few things that didn’t look like keepers…

and boil the bone.

There’s some life lessons to chew on for a while.


About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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