My drive south to Nino Salvagio’s fabulous market in Troy usually takes thirty to forty minutes. Yesterday afternoon, however, Rochester Road south of Tienken teemed with what we locals know as “Light Show traffic.”

Incidentally, the town of Rochester erected a sign to alert southbound motorists just in case we didn’t notice the storefronts alight in brilliant colors. Having observed the swelling popularity of this Christmas spectacle the past decade, I surmised the sunny, mild December day lured folk downtown early for a parking spot.

As my car rolled down Main Street, families and couples strolled sidewalks looking into windows and waiting at corners to cross.

A young couple caught my eye at Fourth Street. I admired her mastery of four-inch heels (perhaps five); his confident stride in skinny jeans. My romantic streak detected the obvious sign that the blonde and her date were sweet on one another.

At last I parked close to Nino’s entrance, eager to choose our Dearborn ham and other specialties one finds inside the mammoth store. Of Southern heritage, I dare not attempt to bake biscotti for guests and gifts. Mom’s fruitcake, yes. Her recipe yields three loaves wrapped in brandied cheesecloth: one for my husband and me, and one each for our two daughters.

Perfectamente, as my high-school Spanish teacher would say.

In this joyful mood, I entered the paradise of fruits and vegetables piled high on tables. Praise God for fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries out of season! And pineapple for our main course! For red, green, and orange bell peppers!

Concerned Nino’s might run out of Dearborn hams, I aimed for the meat department and promptly placed a ten pounder in my cart. Congenial laughter behind the fish counter drew me to the Lake Superior whitefish, my husband’s favorite of all fresh and saltwater food.

“Can I help you?” asked one of the many fish guys.

“Yes, thank you. How many whitefish filets do you recommend to feed two?”

“Well,” he said, holding up a sample, “whitefish is thin, so I’d say two.”

“I’ll take two, please.”

Forty-five minutes later, the check-out bagger packed my order including fresh-baked croissants, Great Northern beans, molasses, and ingredients for Buckeyes (AKA Peanut Butter Balls) and Magic Pan Cookie Bars. Finally, I unloaded the ham box and whitefish and paid my bill.

Home from the northbound Light Show, I unpacked my groceries and discovered the bagger overlooked our featured dish for Christmas dinner.

“We have it in the cooler,” customer service said when I called.

Now, for almost two years, We the People have experienced a bombardment of unprecedented seismic moments that challenged our equilibrium—our trust in God, neighbor, and government. Another round trip to Nino’s didn’t faze my emotional Richter scale.

Indeed, dear Reader, our traditional Christmas ham presented another chance to join again fellow pilgrims in the midst of celebrating this most wonderful season.

Joy to the world! The Light came to us two thousand years ago. Let Heaven and Earth receive their King!

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