Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spam and Southern Hospitality

"On five," I instructed. We each had a fresh slice of Spam on our forks. Six of us committed to eating the mystery meat together. My wife and I were hosting Operation Barnabas students in their final week of tour.

"One. Two..."

"Wait," interrupted Karly. "Are we eating on One or saying Five and eating?"

The Spam was not getting any hotter. Or fresher.

"Five. Then we eat," I said. "And close your eyes; it might help."

We resumed our count. "One. Two. Three. Four. Five." We bit down, but Spam does not require chewing. It slides. Several girls shuttered. One found it agreeable. We possibly changed a life this morning.

Operation Barnabas is all about life change. Every summer they gather nearly one hundred teenagers from across the country to live as itinerant missionaries out of a big blue bus. They follow the model of Joseph, who was called Barnabas because of his great encouragement to the church (Acts. 4:36). They organize pep rallies for Jesus, animating puppets and turning shreds of paper into crucifixes. They sing and serve and eat more hot dogs than Kobayashi, all with a smile on their faces.

Their tour leads them to different cities, churches, and host homes. Sometimes they have to sleep on the floor. Sometimes they eat Spam. It is a summer filled with memories.

"We'll remember yours as the Spam house," Alex said. I was proud of my family for such tremendous hospitality. We might list our house on airbnb.com and cite Spam as an amenity. Then again, opening my home to random travelers with Spam fetishes gives me a stomach ache.

Or perhaps I'm still reeling from breakfast.

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