This weekend is the annual Burt family ham decorating and sculpting contest, otherwise known as The Hammy. I don’t like to brag, but I won the 2010 Hammy Award last year. I carved up my ham to look like Curly from the Three Stooges, but with a mohawk (hamhawk?). I think what gave the sculpture added panache were the two small cranberries I used for eyes.
My youngest son, Otto, made his ham into a pig, which I thought was cruel at first, but I eventually learned to appreciate the meta-style of his design. I questioned him about the theme and concept of his project, but he just made snorting noises and laughed.
My wife, Donna, created a game with her ham, inserting toothpicks into the meat until it looked like Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies. We hung the ham on the fireplace mantle like a stocking and took turns tossing pineapple rings at the toothpicks, scoring points with each successful “stick.” Donna won the ring toss ham game and was rewarded with an impromptu prize the rest of us agreed on: she got to clean up the mess. But, honestly, we let her win.
My teenage son, Dustan, submitted an entry that looked just like a half-eaten ham, which, by the way, it was. He just sat there, eating ham and playing video games while the rest of the family competed vigorously to win the succulent Hammy Award. He still finished second with little effort because of his natural ham skills.
We always buy way too much ham every year for the contest, so we end up making a charitable donation of the leftovers to our dog, Buddy. Last year, Buddy couldn’t even finish it and we caught him trying to give some away to a couple of stray cats. We admonished him, confiscated the meat, and took the rest to the nursing home to give to Grandpa. Grandpa always appreciates the very little kindness we show him, unlike our spoiled mutt and what’s-his-name we keep locked in the dungeon beneath our detached garage.
I’m really looking forward to this year’s ham contest. Don’t tell the rest of my family, but I think I have another winning idea this year. I’m going to drape the meat with Lady Gaga voodoo dolls. And, as an added twist, the Lady Gaga voodoo dolls will be wearing little ham dresses.