Monday, January 28, 2013
Happy Ham for Miss Landers Day!
On a chilly January Sunday, many years ago, Bertie and I were visiting my parents and we were all feeling a bit of ennui. Christmas and New Year’s Day had passed. The house was denuded of the shimmer and excitement of the holidays. Valentine’s Day was weeks away. Everything, for lack of a better word was, “blah.” And so, while my father and I set the table and tried in our own backward way to assist my mother with dinner, in the background, “Bonanza” played on TV. We noticed that the guest star in the episode was one Sue Randall, best known to most of us as Theodore Cleaver’s teacher—the beloved Miss Landers—on “Leave it to Beaver.”
What was Miss Landers doing at the Ponderosa? We didn’t know. We weren’t paying attention. Yet, Hoss was going on at length about a ham. “What’s going on there?” My mother asked. “Dunno,” I replied. “They’re trying to get a ham for Miss Landers.”
And, suddenly, a light went on. It was “Ham for Miss Landers Day.” And, so, it has been since. The Sunday closest to January 28 is always “Ham for Miss Landers Day.” And, so, it is with great pride that I wish all of you a happy belated Ham for Miss Landers Day. It is my deepest wish that all of you (or even one of you) will celebrate this important holiday. After all, Miss Landers does need the ham. And though Sue Randall is long-gone—after having donated her body to science—we honor her memory and that of the charming, wide-eyed Miss Landers (to whom June Cleaver once “accidentally” made the gift of a lacy slip)—with these humble declarations of our support and obeisance. On this day, we eat in her honor. No, not ham. I don’t really like ham. But, pancetta is always nice. Offer gifts of modest underwear to your friends (or your child's second grade teacher), raise your glass of ginger ale high and bid your loved ones a very, very happy “Ham for Miss Landers Day.” Beaver would like that, and, I’m sure Hoss would, too.