Since my sister and I grew up with a mother who considered Christmastime a reason to get more drunk than usual, and who viewed Easter as the day that she got an extra hour or two to herself while we were at church, in our adult lives the holidays mean something very special to both of us.
For Easter, every year my darling John prepares a delicious ham for his family’s Easter dinner. He is from a large family: ten brothers and sisters, and they all seem pretty normal. When you add in his nieces and nephews, you have quite a large group. Anyway, somewhat thanks to my stepmother Beatrice and somewhat thanks to my own personality, I like to keep all of my possessions safe and well cared for. John’s family shares a different belief regarding personal possessions, a belief of which I was already aware but one that was thoroughly demonstrated to me one year.
The Easter morning of that year, while making the ham, John asked if he could use our big Tupperware meat-keeper.
Tupperware is the name of a home products line that includes preparation, storage, containment, and serving products for the kitchen and home, which were first introduced to the public in 1946.
Tupperware develops, manufactures, and internationally distributes its products as a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company Tupperware Brands Corporation and it is marketed by means of direct sales through an independent sales force of approximately 1.9 million consultants.
Now as I mentioned, John’s family does not share my respect for other people’s things. They are a big family and they share dishes, containers, and pans. It is not uncommon for someone to say,
Here is your plate. I’ve had it since last Christmas.
They really have no regard for anyone’s things, and they share all of their possessions. No one gets upset when someone else has their plate or pan; and they could care less when they get it back. As you may have guessed, I am not particularly comfortable with this arrangement. My sister Lindy and I return each other’s things immediately. After every holiday meal, we say
I’m washing your pan and you should put it with your things.
That way dishes and pans do not get misplaced.
Anyway, on this particular Easter morning, I agreed that John could use the Tupperware meat-keeper, but only on the condition that he keep an eye on the meat-keeper and promised to bring it home with us at the end of the day. John chuckled and just thought I was being silly, but in order to have harmony, he agreed to this solemn commitment and serious obligation to serve as Guardian and Watcher of the Tupperware meat-keeper.
He loaded the Tupperware up with delicious slices of his honey-baked ham, and we were on our way.
The meal was lovely and I really enjoyed the experience of being with such a large family. I naturally assumed that John was keeping his word about watching the ham container; however, I was wrong. You may as well know right now that this was not my first experience with John’s family and their rampant lack of respect for personal property. They assume that any plate, dish, or pan is communal and that if you leave it unattended, it is up-for-grabs.
When it was time to go, I asked about my ham container. No one seemed to know where it was. We looked high and low, but no Tupperware meat-keeper seemed to be anywhere. Finally, one of John’s relatives said that there had been some ham scraps in the pan and he had put it outside for the dog!
Someone quickly retrieved the Tupperware meat-keeper, but the damage was done. Can you imagine the end results of a mangy dog licking, chewing, tearing and biting at my meat-keeper for every bit of the scrumptious ham? The Tupperware was plastic, of course, and that meant getting rid of the dog germs was going to be an even more difficult job.
Getting rid of the multiple bite marks in the Tupperware was going to be impossible.
Optimistically, John’s relatives rushed to place the plastic pan in the sink filled with hot soapy water. However, having had previous experience with dogs and holidays, I was having none of it. Needless to say, I grabbed my meat-keeper and left. Luckily (for me) we had a long drive home, so I had lots of time to “discuss” my thoughts with John, his performance as Guardian and Watcher of the Tupperware meat-keeper, and his family’s communal attitude toward dishes and other property.
It turns out that my family is not the only Far From Normal one.