The Miracle Ham Adventure

Friday, December 28th, 2007. The day that altered my life forever.

Picture this. A chilly day spent on my grandmother’s ranch in Oklahoma. After a fairly uneventful drive from Oklahoma City, we arrive with gifts in tow. Why, here we are, relaxing on (read: breaking) my grandma’s Lazy Boy.


Christmas at my grandmother’s home is a very relaxed affair. A down home meal, homemade pies, sweetened tea and some football. Usually, I end up sitting on the above chair for most of the 5-hour visit.

Except for this particular day- I heard my father and grandmother talking about some fantastic, life-altering ham and how he just HAD to have one to take back to the city. Some shuffling and jingling of keys ensued, and before I knew it, my dad was heading out the door.

Normally, this wouldn’t have phased me- I mean, it takes a lot to get my ass out of that fine leather chair, but for some reason, I found myself yelling, “Dad! I wanna go! Hold up!” He inquired incredulously, “You want to go pick up a HAM with me?”


Thus began our adventure to secure The Miracle Ham. Through two small towns and a very desolate 2-lane highway, the entire time listening to my father boast about a damn ham. “It isn’t injected with ANYTHING! Such smoky flavor! Hung to dry! Natural! The best flavor you’ve ever tasted!”

Luckily, I had his new iPhone to play with, thus counterbalancing the ham sermon. However, I was very careful to interject a well-placed “uh-huh…you don’t say…mmm, smoky” along the way.

I guess, in my mind, I assumed we were heading to a retail operation, such as a Honeybaked Ham store (although, YOU HAVE NOTHING ON THE MIRACLE HAM, FOOLS!) Little did I know that we were going to spend some quality time here:


The iPhone came in quite handy, you see.

I looked at my father and asked, “Is this, like, a meat production plant-type establishment?”

To which he replied, “I do reckon, little lady, now git over yonder!”

(My extremely suave and well-spoken father hasn’t lived in a small town since 1967, yet transforms into Smiley Burnette within a 20-mile radius of his old stomping grounds.)

We walked up to the door, me skittishly standing in my father’s new-found cowboy shadow, and what I saw next was marvelous.

A smoky office about the size of an elevator with what looked to be a 113-year-old woman sitting at a desk, smoking some Kool Menthols. Across the cluttered desk sat her grandson and great-grandkids, looking at us as if we were just transported from Mars.

Keep in mind, the Miracle Ham Establishment isn’t even located in a town. It is in the middle of nowhere, and I’m guessing the owner/operators of the MHE do not have daily run-ins with people donning winter white peacoats and iPhones. It was a little awkward on my part.

However, Smiley was having a ball.

“Well, HOWDY, Miss Jones! It’s me, Ronny! Arlene’s boy! How ya doing? I was hopin’ I could buy one of those deeelicious hams of yours. I’m fixin’ to head out to the big city, and I sure would like a taste!”

*insert overdramatic eye-rolling on my part*

However, my eye-rolling was cut short when I noticed the young great-grandson (10 years old, tops!) eyeing me like I was a juicy ham myself. People, he licked his lips and with great (and unnecessary) fervor.

Let’s see – Smiley Burnette in one corner, Kool Menthol Elder and 10-Year-Old Pervert in the other. Things couldn’t get much more uncomfortable when, all of the sudden, the front door busted open. As I peered through the thick smoke, I saw the silhouette of a Very Large Man yelling, “Give me my hooves! I need my hooves!”

Kool Menthol Elder – “Well, why on earth would you need some hooves?”

Very Large Man – “Because I’m building my GUN RACK! DO YA RECKON?”

10-Year-Old Pervert – *licking lips*

At this point, I was trying to silently delineate if pigs even had hooves, and if not, what kind of hooves did he mean? More importantly, WHY WAS I IN THIS SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I quickly decided I was going to turn around and face the wall. Sure, it might look strange, but trust me, it was my best option.

I turned around, expecting a wall, when I realized it was a glass window. A glass window looking into the meat production “area”. Holy hell. May I just use a few words?

Pig. Parts. Blood. Rust. Raw. Machines.

I’ll let you take that for what it’s worth. I looked at my father and mouthed, “Halp.”

Thank God, at this point, a lovely lady (wearing the world’s bloodiest apron and a poorly-bandaged thumb) appeared with our Miracle Ham. Fantastic.

We said our goodbyes and made our way back to car, feeling much dirtier than before we left. (Well, at least on my part. Smiley was singing about billy goats or something.)

We returned to my grandmother’s house just in time for the big meal. And you know what? I ate two slices of The Miracle Ham.

Now, I’m not really a ham person, but that Miracle Ham? It was damn good.

  • Filtering Life

    January 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    after seeing all that and you still dug in…trooper!

  • RA

    January 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    The husband is anti-ham, so I haven’t had it in…five years or so, much to the chagrin of my ham-loving parents.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like D strikes the Blue Steel pose in photos?

  • Jamie

    January 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    This is the very reason I’ve been an on-and-off vegetarian for the past decade or so…I love meat, but when I’m reminded of how it’s prepared/killed/procured/etc, I just feel really guilty. It’s a vicious cycle.

  • Schnozz

    January 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Also, D is touching your butt, isn’t he? ISN’T HE?

    I try not to think about where my meat comes from. In my mind, it shows up directly from Tastyland, where it is conjured up by fairies.

  • Sadie

    January 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Holy shit this was funny. I imagined you turning towards the wall in your winter white peacoat, like the motherfucking Blair Witch Project, and coming face to face with bloody pig carcasses. That’s like TWO horror movies IN ONE!!

    and yet, now I am hungry for some ham. I sure do love me some ham.

  • Karen

    January 15, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Well, you could just chalk that up to some, er, quality time with your Dad?! Very Twilight Zone. The creepiest part for me was the 10 year old.
    My SIL is a vegetarian because she visited a slaughterhouse once. I prefer not to think about it, because I really love my meat too much.

  • Melissa

    January 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    ham is good. and there i was, thinking this was going to be a story about you breaking your grandmother’s chair!

  • amy

    January 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    oh this is soooo oklahoma…small towns, & desolate hwy…all too familiar. my dad lives in the country and i can just see this scenerio exactly.
    i would’ve eaten that ham too!

  • am'ti b

    January 15, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    now i am really homesick!

  • All Adither

    January 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Hooves? Gunracks? Oklahoma? Is this the planet earth we speak of? Or perhaps I’ve been in Seattle too long.

  • metalia

    January 15, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    HAAAAA! Despite the fact that ham has never crossed my lips in my life, NOT ONCE, I love this story. The Very Large Man is my favorite part.

    (I also love that your dad’s dialect transforms when he returns to the places of his youth; my mom does the same thing when she heads back to Long Island. Lord help us all.)

  • Kristabella

    January 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    That is hilarious!

    And I’m so going to start interjecting “uh-huh…you don’t say…mmm, smoky” into all my conversations. Regardless of subject.

  • bishOp stu tu

    January 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    whOOrl gOOrl,

    I often wonder how you would have turned out if we had raised you on the ranch….? I also want your readers to know that I had veal at 21 in nyc a couple weeks ageaux….and it tweren’t near as good as the miracle ham….however, the scenery was better, must admit.

    Currently working on a brand new pate’ made from smashed Vienna Sausages. O most continental, and, hell these country clube baisturds around this town don’t know the difference. pate du viennese. yum.

    tankee and good fishing.

    yo dad

  • lini

    January 15, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Thank God the big city lights lured “Smiley” away! By the way, the Miracle Ham is being served this week end!

  • Sharri

    January 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    First of all the three of you are too cute – and your bangs! I covet thee!

    Second of all, your story is too funny – especially because it’s real. What makes the ham a damn miracle?

  • gorillabuns

    January 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    okay, maybe i need to go and get me some of this heavenly ham you speak of. i’m sure celia will go for it.

  • Courtney

    January 15, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Hilarious! What is it about ham that makes people crazy?
    Ever since I met my husband, he went on and on about how good his mom’s ham was. For YEARS I heard about this ham.
    When I finally got to attend one of their families “ham worthy” occassions, I told her I was so excited to try the famous meat. Her answer? “Oh, it’s nothing special, I just get it at the Honeybaked Ham store!”
    Yeah….he doesn’t brag about his mom’s cooking so much anymore!

  • angela

    January 15, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Well you worked so hard for it. You definitely deserved to try the Miracle Ham.

  • hi kooky

    January 15, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Oh Lordy. First of all, you are a beautiful family. Secondly, I live in the midwest and know a lot about recliners, home cookin’, and football for the holidays. But I’ll tell you what. I’ve never (in all my live long days) seen a scene like the one you described from the meat packing plant. I kept worrying that you might have gotten some blood on the white pea coat! I’m glad you didn’t. The Very Large Man wanting hooves would have scared me, I have to admit. Thanks for the fabulously disturbing and entertaining replay!

  • Michelle in Cincinnati

    January 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    1.Whoorl’s vegetarian friend, “Whoorl, do you know what they DO to those pigs?”

    2.Whoorl, “No, but it’s DELICIOUS!”

  • Giselle

    January 15, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    That was so funny! I would ask you where in Oklahoma I can get said ham since it sounds delish, but I would be way too scared to go there on my own anyway. :)

  • Kaili

    January 15, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    That was so hilarious! I loved it! Such a nice family pictures too!

  • nicole

    January 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Gorgeous family … hysterical story!

  • SAJ

    January 16, 2008 at 2:32 am

    But the blood and the RUST and THE POORLY BANDAGED THUMB!!!

    Man. It must have been good.

  • glamgranola

    January 16, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Why did I hear “Dueling Banjos” the entire time I read this??

  • Jennifer

    January 16, 2008 at 9:06 am

    That ham musta been damn good for you to have eaten it after what you saw!

  • andrea

    January 16, 2008 at 10:24 am

    How can I convince you guys to bring me along next time you head to Oklahoma? I don’t generally eat pork products, but I’d even be willing to try the miracle ham; as long as I don’t have to look through the window.

    Can’t wait for more stories from home.

  • slynnro

    January 16, 2008 at 10:31 am

    When I was in elementary school (in a small town, of 1200 people, 47 in my graduating class), I believe 2nd grade, some genius thought it would be a great idea to take a field trip to the freaking meat processing plant. No, really!

    We actually got to see pigs killed, and freshly killed pigs lowered into vats of boiling water (to remove the hair) and have their blood removed, and well, all the other steps in the process.

    And at the end of the tour? They gave us some to sample.

  • Carrie

    January 16, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Oh, that’s the funniest story I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for this post- it made my day!

  • Amanda

    January 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Ok. I still have the heeby-jeebies from the blood and rust and machines and nasty bloody apron lady with poorly bandaged thumb. eeeeewwww.

  • Sarcomical

    January 16, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    wow, i’m scared. but somehow, you made me crave canadian bacon…

    also, i too think D has a very “come here to me” look in the photo. is that the look you get when it’s special bedroom funtime?

    ;) xoxo

  • Sarcomical

    January 16, 2008 at 3:17 pm


    yo daddy shore is funnee.

  • P.B.

    January 16, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    You could be Kristen Davis -aka- Charlotte’s clone, omg!

  • Mary C

    January 17, 2008 at 7:09 am

    That is a great story. Also? Your family is beautiful!

  • Angella

    January 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I hate pork.

    Except bacon. Mmmmm….bacon.

    But your family portrait?