As the reader may or may not know, or may or may not care, Daisy is a 1959 Shasta camper knockoff, a canned ham. When I look out the window and see her profile in the morning fog, I have no problem making the connection. I simply need to paint “Armour” on her side and flashbacks of living on-a-liberal-arts-degree-in-the-80s ooze over me like the gelatinous fluid surrounding a hunk of Spam. Trickle-down Reaganomics only dripped on this Yuppie.
A retro camper is like a canned ham in more than just appearances. The outside makes one curious. What could be inside that tin exterior? Does one trust the metal to do its job and keep the interior palatable? How does one get to the inside? Is there a key that will magically open it? Does one peel back the exterior to reveal what is inside?
The contents of Daisy, like the contents of a Dak ham, will be better with some attention. Right now, Daisy is safe to consume, albeit a little unsatisfactory. There are seats, a refrigerator, electricity, lighting and eccentric air conditioning, most of which are covered in a primer of Behr “Pink Parfait.”
She still needs a couple more coats of Pink Parfait, as well as cushions for the seating. It is safe to eat a canned ham right out of the tin, but it’s much better chopped up and fried, then stirred into Kraft macaroni and cheese.
Don’t judge. I made fourteen thousand dollars a year.
Eventually, I want to get laminate counter tops, Formica flooring and cute window treatments made from vintage fabric. Perhaps I will repurpose the kitchen window curtains from my grandmother’s house. This would be akin to baking the ham in the can, with holes punched in the tin.
When all is said and done, when the ham is glazed in brown sugar and peppered with pineapple and cloves, Daisy will have painted pinstriping and a logo on her Kim Kardashian behind. It will say Follow me @DaisyTheTrailer.
On a seemingly unrelated note, I was a Girl Scout leader, God help me, for many years. When the troop was dissolved, we still had money in our account. I asked the poobahs at GSHQ what to do with the money. They said, “Have a party for the girls. They earned it.” I love those girls – most of them – as if they were my own, but they didn’t earn a party. They didn’t even earn badges. They were fun. They were lovable. They weren’t earners.
The money, just a couple hundred bucks, has continued to sit in an account and I have continued to fret every time I drive past anything with either a Girl Scout or Pinnacle logo. I need to do something worthy with that money. I could use a new pair of shoes, but that never seemed right.
Recently, I remembered one of my original goals when I bought a vintage camper shaped like a canned ham and had it hauled from Michigan to Nashville a year ago. Daisy and I are going to feed people. In the spirit of the holidays, as well as all things retro, Daisy and I are going to deliver canned hams. The details are sketchy, as are the contents of canned hams, but this much I know. I will buy canned hams with the leftover troop money and we will give them away, Daisy and I.
We will give them to people who need food. We will give them to people who want food. We will give them to liberal arts majors who are no longer supported by their parents. We will give them to parents of liberal arts majors. There may not be a chicken in every pot, but there can be a canned ham in every hand.
Daisy and I can’t do this alone. My beleaguered family has no choice. Unbeknownst to them (until reading these words), they will be commandeered into donning aprons and doling out hams. My friends will look at their watches, grimace at me in exasperation, calculate how much time they need to wrap gifts and send cards in these days of Holidaze and then hop aboard the Daisy train. Others will send me canned hams. Donations of canned hams. So. Many. Canned. Hams. Hormel will notice a surge in sales and sponsor my blog as well as pay for the finishing touches for Daisy. Seymour Chwast will create the @DaisyTheTrailer logo (be sure to put the @ in there, Mr. Chwast). We will be featured on the cover of Time, People and even Rolling Stone. Charlie Rose will interview me on “60 Minutes.” Columbia Pictures will buy the movie rights of my yet-to-be-written novel.
More importantly, there will be people who need food in their tummies getting food. True, it’s debatable whether canned ham is food or a science project. I must confess, growing up in the 60s and 70s, I never doubted its viability. A fried Spam sandwich with mustard on white bread takes me back to Saturdays and my dad working his arse off in the yard. He’d take a break for lunch, wash down the sammich with a Big K cola, belch a couple of times, be reprimanded by my mother and go back to the lawn mower. My parents are in their mid-to-late 70s and run circles around me. Heck, they run circles around my KIDS. Perhaps I need to add canned ham to the weekly menu.
I will be adding canned ham to Daisy’s journey, though, and I’m inviting anybody who wants, to come along. Just let me know.