The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
I have come to realize once again that the modern world has distracted me from myself.
For this reason, when it came time to prepare for Christmas day, I let my wife stay in bed so that I could partake in the ritual of hunting the Christmas ham and gathering the holiday side dishes.
My plan was simple, I would be up before sunrise, go to the gym and then about 6am make my way to the Honeybaked store armed only with my wits, the confirmation number my wife provided and my credit card. This would be glorious!
Then I overslept a little.
I woke up about 5:40 and feeling the aftereffects of too many consecutive days at the gym. I moved down the hallway, much the way my 85-year old father does, a little hunched over, shuffling and moaning all the way. Physical aches and pains be damned, after a session of foam rolling (and checking Facebook, read the morning blog posts) it was time to get the whole hunter/gather thing going.
I resisted the urge to plug the Honeybaked store address into my GPS. True hunter/gatherers of old did’t use GPS systems to track their prey. They use the sun and the stars and their knowledge of the lay of the lands. So I did what my ancestors did, I put my coffee in a travel mug, memorized the address and used Google Maps to develop a plan to get to the hunting grounds.
I was uncomfortable driving someplace new without computer guidance; that probably means it was good for me. I became aware of exactly how dependent I’ve become on satellite-assisted navigation for even simple trips. At one point, I felt like a modern day Prufrock asking myself, “do I dare to take this exit?” As I came off the freeway, I saw a street sign with the block number at the bottom. I remember those things! Back in the old days, they helped guide us to our final destination. Thank goodness for the ancient wisdom that provided us with these markers.
About a quarter-mile up the road, was the Honeybaked store in a little front pad of a shopping center. They had opened earlier than advertised and there was no line as I drove in around back to park. There was a small line by the time I made it back to the front of the store. I stood in the freezing cold (61°F) California winter morning watching the sunrise with the other hunter/gatherers feeling somewhat like I was in nice version of a scene from the soup nazi episode of Seinfeld.
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
One of the successful hunters leaving the store was offering up her coupons. All of the hunter/gatherers apparently had these coupons already in hand. Reluctantly and shamefully, I admitted that I was not as well prepared as EVERYONE else and accepted the coupons which entitled me to $12 off if I added a side of turkey and three sides. This was a hunter/gathers dream, not to be passed up for my foolish pride.
The line processed quickly and before I knew it, with the swipe of my credit card, I had exchanged my confirmation number for pints of apple cranberry sauce, creamed spinach, ambrosia as well as huge side of smoked turkey and a 7lb. ham.
As I left the
Honeybaked store hunting/gathering grounds I was surprised by the number of late sleepers were lining up the block. Their fate was to get the less desired hams and turkeys for my early rising brothers and sisters had laid waste to the preferred bounty. I felt sorry for their children that they had to be born to such laggards. Those poor children would never know exactly why this Christmas didn’t shine as bright as it should have.
As I secured the bounty
on top of in the back of my car, I took a taste of the smoked turkey. It was seasoned in sugar and was just a delight. During the drive home, I thought about how easy this all is. It’s easy to get from point A to point B. It’s easy to get a meal prepared and table-ready. Heck, it was car-ready.
It’s easy now to find store locations and get directions and so on and so on. Does the struggle add to the accomplishment and meaning of putting dinner on the table and the other accomplishments of life? I know we used to waste lots of time and energy looking for places, but did that struggle make us a bit smarter, wiser and more appreciative? If one day Christmas dinner magically appeared on the table without us having to work for it, would we value it?
For this, for everything, we are out of tune; A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! ~Wordsworth