Occasionally we post a guest blog.  We are always happy to post them when Judah writes them.  Enjoy.

Dear Beekeeper’s Wife,

I write you tonight from the safe haven of a home in Charleston, where I have been sheltered from the cruel north winds that have descended upon this normally fair state. While many people await the arrival of winter with bated breath, anxious to enjoy all of its wonders and merriment, I find it to inevitably be a cruel surprise perpetuated upon me by nature. Thankfully, I have been welcomed here by a fellow visitor from this summer to your abode, and she is indeed a wonderful host. It is always a fascinating experience to be in a home older than many cities, but to be in a home where the history is accompanied by hospitality is indeed a treat.

But, this letter is not a letter about Charleston. Poe, Conroy and every other Southern writer has more than adequately described her beauty and decay, and I will not even attempt the try. Rather, this is a letter about your home state, and the wonderment therein that I beheld. And though I wish that I were telling you of a woman, this story is much more than that. It is a story of sustenance and the southern soul.

I left my home state in September, and headed North to the land of the Yankees. That is, Richmond. Now, don’t protest, because to those of us from my State, everyone else is a Yankee. I apologize, I know how important your Army was to the cause, and the inestimable General especially, but the fact remains that my state would secede to this day if left to its own devices for long enough.

Arriving in Richmond, I immediately found myself in a strange new land. Chick-Fil-A was something that had to be hunted for, and I often worried that my supply of sweet tea would dry up with no recourse. As I became more familiar with the city, however, I realized that this was a false fear, and I soon recognized that this was indeed a kindred land.  One night in particular proved this to be true.

I was shopping for my last week’s worth of provisions in the Dominion, hunting for a few basic necessities before I left. Shuffling against the back of the store, listening to music but not feeling joy, I was ready to get in the car and go home, ready to end the day. Suddenly, I spied a bag. And not just any bag, no, this was a great canvas bag of wonderment. Hanging before me was a massive country ham. I was filled with excitement. As a boy, living in Washington, D.C. I had always begged my mother for a giant country ham for my birthday. “When you are eight,” she promised me for my birthday wish, and then it was “when you are nine” and then it was gone, for we moved to the far north and I lost my chance to have a massive ham. It was a crushing blow, and I did not fully recover until the middle of my teenage years. I forgave her, as all children should forgive their parents for broken promises that are beyond their parents control.  But I never gave up my desire for a country ham that came in a bag and was cooked in my home.

I looked at the ham and saw my poor cart and gluttony near carried the day. But I thought of my wallet and I saw the pound price, and I almost walked away. I stood there in sorrow, when to my delight, I saw a small package, there in the light. It was country ham, so round and so good, and was quite perfect for my bachelorhood. I bought it that day, and ate it that week, and of that pleasure, no more can I speak.

It was an amazing experience, to have the chance to cook my own country ham. I have conversed with Brother Dear and we have agreed that it is something that must be pursued further, that is, we must prepare the ham as well next time. I look forward to that in the near, or distant, future, whenever it may be.

Until next time, I bid you farewell, and wish you and the whole of Hillhouse the merriest of Christmases. I am planning my return for the summer, and I cannot wait to meet the newest member of the family.


The Traveler

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