Post Title: Seeing Red on Easter Morning. 

Traditional ham with cloves and pineapple

In the week leading up to Easter, my brother talked of little else but the ham dinner he asked me to make this year.  Since we could not attend our church service, he wanted to be sure there was a semblance of celebration. He wanted the works: pineapple, cherries, and cloves.

On Wednesday, he bought the ham and fixings, sweet potatoes and even the dessert. “The ham’s in the fridge,” he said casually.

When I checked it, the ham was in the vegetable drawer, and it was BIG—nearly 8 pounds! There was only two of us—and his friend for whom we would pack a plate to drop off at his house. I eyed the meat with a bit of trepidation. I had only cooked ham once, the previous Thanksgiving. That poor small thing was completely overcooked. I did, however, salvage enough to make a decent meal.

As usual, I fretted about it, feeling put on the spot. What if I did something else wrong? And timing…the success of a meal depended on everything being done at the same time.

On Resurrection Sunday, I woke up at 7:30 and lifted up a prayer of gratitude.

Not long after, I began to “score” the ham. Of course, not seeing well, my lines were a bit wavy and not too close together. But they would serve to let the flavors seep in. Next, I attached the sliced pineapple and cherries with toothpicks. Then I added cloves in the cuts.

It was ready to put in the oven, but I double-checked with my sister-in-law, not feeling very confident about this new dish.

“Do you want me to come over and look at it?”

I hesitated. Our family has respected the stay-at-home ordinance by the president. “Maybe, just to be sure I did everything right.”

Julie arrived ten minutes later, and took charge. She added more cloves, and made a brown sugar mustard paste and added it. “This is a bone-in ham,” she said, “Just so you know.”

I nodded.

She went on to instruct me how to cook the yams and explained she usually made them from a can.

“I have both,” I said, thinking of how lucky it was to pick them up at the food bank a few months earlier. If one recipe failed, we would have a back-up plan. I always felt this was wisest when I cooked.

She prepared them for me. “…in the last ten minutes, add the marshmallows.”

“Thank God I did not eat them all,” I said, looking at the small layer of the miniatures left in the bottom of the bag. I made a face, remembering how I had wolfed them down by the handful the previous day.

“This is perfect,” she reassured me. “You’re in good shape.”

Julie went ahead, covered the ham just-so with the foil, and placed it in Mom’s oven, setting the temperature and timer.

I never used Mom’s oven. After she passed away, I preferred to cook in my own—as I tend to be messy—and carry it down to eat afterward.

After Julie left, I had a brilliant idea—to make a pitcher of cranberry juice. At the food bank, I had found a bottle of concentrate. This would be a good time to use it. There was a large pitcher on the top shelf of Mom’s kitchen. I dragged over a step stool to take it down. For whatever reason I cannot fathom now, I decided to “save time” by pouring the concentrate into the pitcher on my way down short step stool. But …

I didn’t see the lid was already on the pitcher!

And yes, you got it. The concentrate flowed over the lid, down the white plastic ladder and onto the floor.

For a nano-second, the shock of seeing red threw me into a tailspin. I thought it must be … my blood! How did I hurt myself this time? “Did I cut myself?!” I asked out loud. Just that quick, I realized the cause and stopped at once.

But the damage was done.

I put the small bottle down, grateful I didn’t waste more of it.  

As I wiped down the area, including the sides of the cupboards where the cranberry juice had splashed, I hummed “swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home…” feeling low indeed.

It was difficult to differentiate between the rooster pattern on the carpet in front of the sink and the spilled cranberry juice, so I hoped I found it all.

No matter how many times I wiped the floor, it still felt sticky. So I put on my shoes and carried on.

Soon, I informed my brother, the meal would be done by one o’clock. He said, “Can we … eat … at three? I’m not hungry now.”

For a moment, I thought about putting my brother in that chariot!

“What do I do? It’s gonna be done.”

He was asleep. Nothing to do but phone Julie.

“No problem, just turn it off. Half an hour before you eat, put the canned yams in the oven.”

It seemed simple enough. But I had to put the brown-n-serve rolls in my 400-degree oven ten minutes before dinner was done. I recalculated everything.

I decided to leave the ham in the oven while the yams cooked downstairs.

Toward the end of my preparation, up and down the stairs I went, checking on both. I had to add butter to the tops of the rolls as soon as they came out of the oven and at the same time, make sure the marshmallows didn’t burn downstairs. Whew!

I brought the real sweet potatoes I cooked in foil downstairs along with the rolls with melted butter on top. Then I removed the foil on the ham.

It looked strange. The ham was covered in fat. Lots of it. Like an inch deep. Although it, in fact, was springy to the touch. Was this because I had kept it in the oven for two and a half hours longer than it needed?

I wanted to wail. Scream. Cry. Toss it like a pizza. A giggle escaped me. It was much too heavy to lift, let alone throw in the air. Actually, I had never seen a ham like this with more fat than meat. And where was the delectable glaze I imagined?

My brother woke up. “Smells great!” He sat at the table for a minute. “Did you use the cloves?”

I narrowed my eyes. More about those overpriced silly cloves I had put in the cuts of fat! Ignoring his question, I finally finished slicing through the heavily-marbled meat, which fell away from the bone in small pieces. “No thanks to you.”

My brother wisely chose to drive the dish of food over to his friend, Ray’s, house.  He probably thought I needed to “simmer down.”

When he returned, I set the plate of stone-hard, cold rolls on the table next to the small, thick pieces of fatty ham.  I nearly threw his sweet potato at him. I slapped down a small bowl holding cinnamon-butter I had formed into a dollop earlier.

“Thanks,” he said, wincing at the sound.

The marshmallows had disintegrated into the canned yams by then, and I sat, tight-lipped with the oven dish beside my plate. After eight hours of cooking, our Easter dinner felt like a mess.

“What’s that red in front of the sink?” my brother asked in the silence that followed.

“Red? I don’t see anything. Where do you see red?”

He pointed to the thin rooster carpet in front of the sink. Of course, where I couldn’t find it.

“I’m seeing red right now,” I said, more to myself than him.

We ate for a couple of minutes in uncomfortable silence. Then my brother said abruptly, “I’m going to Ray’s. Don’t worry, I’ll wear a face mask.”

As if that would make flagrantly breaking the stay-at-home rule all right.

Without a word, I snatched up my plate and stomped upstairs, put the kittens in the bedroom and ate the rest of my meal alone. Afterward, I pulled up a book on my kindle, but I couldn’t concentrate. The words to “I Come to the Garden alone,” ran through my head. And he walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am his own. The joy I feel….” Joy? I didn’t have any joy. Regret, more like it.

Donuts in box.

Later, my brother brought home a box of plain doughnuts—his olive branch to me. We laughed at the fatty ham, the cold rolls, and my fit of temper.  As I bit into a doughnut, I chuckled as he mimicked me, “Red? I’m seeing red right now.”

Oh Lord, give us all patience during this quarantine. Help us to remember your example. We are so blessed to have our health and our lives when so many others are struggling. We have each other, food to spare, and humor to see beyond our pettiness to help us serve one another.

You have just read “Seeing Red on Easter Morning” by Amy L. Bovaird. © April 15, 2020. All rights reserved.

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Mobility Matters elegantly shares Amy Bovaird’s emotions and experience which anyone going through vision loss can identify with. The transformation as she overcomes her fear and the enemies voices that her loss of vision will now define who she is as a person and dictate the rest of her life, will inspire hope to each reader. Amy’s journey stepping out in faith and how the Lord’s Word gave her the strength to keep going, is a must read.

This book is not only for those going through the hallway of vision loss, but for each family member or any one who loves someone losing their vision would also benefit by reading.

Mobility Matters Stepping out in Faith has left me thinking I will now call canes power sticks!!!

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Michael Benson, Founder, Visual Experience Foundation

4 Stars  “…As a mobility specialist myself, I found this book of great interest to me for its subject matter. I was quite amazed that Amy could get around on her own with her genetic condition, particularly at night, since individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) tend to lose their night vision and are using a cane at night much sooner than Amy was using any assistive device (even a bright light). Amy maintained her positive attitude, her faith and her sense of humour. If only we all could do that in times of crisis!” –Kathryn Svendsen, Mobility Specialist, Canada

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5 Stars  “Couldn’t stop reading until I finished. Very inspirational. Will definitely be looking for more by this author!” –Sharon Hannah

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5 stars “…This book really inspired me. Amy’s outlook on life is what I would like to model in my own. Yes, going blind SUCKS but she took it to another level. She made it into an adventure and I needed to be reminded of that again. Her positive outlook on this all has really encouraged me in my current situation now. Taking the step of faith to move on forward and embrace life for what it is. I highly recommend purchasing this book! Be inspired, take a journey behind the life of someone with Usher, smile, laugh, and enjoy! –Andi Nicole

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5 Stars “As a person who lives with chronic illness, I sometimes get bogged down with books on illness that feel really heavy. This one does not. Author Amy Bovaird, who is losing her sight, writes so well about her personal experiences, I feel like I’m walking alongside her as I read. I kept coming back to the story to see what happened–was she going to let fear stop her? Would she overcome?
The lessons Amy learns through her experiences apply to any of us who fear aging, illness, new symptoms, or really anyone who needs some inspiration, and that reminder that much can be accomplished if you step out and forward–even when you cannot see beyond that first step. I definitely enjoyed this book. –Kimberly Rae, Bestselling Author of the Stolen Series

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Blog post review by Gillian Davis, RP Tunnel of Sight
One of the best books I have ever read about mobility and white cane use is called Mobility Matters: Stepping out in Faith by Amy Bovard. It is funny, poignant and packs a lot of tips and useful information. You can find it by following the link below to Amy’s web page and listen to a chapter before you buy, it is wonderful.

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