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Musings of a Decorative Ham Man

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

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By Chris Vitiello
Decorative Ham Magnate

The bulk of my teenage years were spent in isolation.

There was a hilly dirt path that led away from the village and deep into the woods. Eventually, it let out on a grassy field that overlooked a rambling cold storage facility, seemingly bereft of human activity. There was a concrete sewer pipe that rose vertically from the ground and I used to place a small portable cook stove on its surface and grill hot dogs and buttered half-corns while listening to the sound of the wind through the grasses. It was seldom that I brought a book or radio along.

A Vitiello Decorative Ham makes a great gift.  Show that you care today.

A Vitiello Decorative Ham makes a great gift. Show that you care today.

I had executed this ritual for a month before I noticed a distinct change. The wind became distinctly more fitful and temperamental (though only when I was cooking hot dogs in the grassy field)– indeed, it was remarked within the confines of the village how seasonable the weather had been that summer.

And then the storms came. It happened first during a visit in early August. A meteorological agitation that came suddenly and without warning and was accompanied by a demented but obscure shout, terse but horrifying. Then, a vicious wind through the grasses that carried off my grill and hot dogs into the sky where they disappeared in a series of black clouds that blotted out all light. I had to take cover against the cement sewer pipe and then, just as abruptly as it appeared, the storm ended and it became warm and bright once again.

This happened on each visit, without fail, throughout the month of August and into September. I accepted it unfailingly, though it required repeated purchases of new cook stoves. “You buy an awful lot of these son,” said the overalled owner of the county line feed store. “You’re not planning some sort of revolutionary attack are you?” I mollified him with long, tiresome stories of charitable camping excursions to buy time. I needed to see the end of this thing through.

The denouement came in early October. It had grown cold. I was on my tenth cook stove. The demented tempest came suddenly; indeed, the coals had just begun to grow orange and my first hot dog had just been placed over the burgeoning fire when it was whisked away. “WHERE WILL IT GO?” I demanded. I was in tears– my emotion had come on as quickly as the storm itself. “I WANT TO KNOW!” And then my sorrow was turned into inexplicable joy. There were no black clouds this time– I could follow the grill as it bobbed in the current like a kite. I watched until it disappeared entirely.

It was then that I knew.

And I never returned.

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