Some of the items, we could use. Others however, were the types of foods that we don't usually eat. Such was the case with the tinned ham.
I wondered whether I should open it and try it, but I really didn't want to do that. I wondered whether I should throw it out immediately, but that wasn't my style. I did what all right-thinking people would do in that situation: I wrapped it up and gave it to my sister for Christmas.
"Tha-a-aankss..." she said as she opened it. And she stored it in her pantry so she could give it back to me the next Christmas. I hadn't given the ham a thought all through that year, so it was a surprise to get it back.
Only one thing for it: wrap it and give it back the next year. I videoed her opening the present, rolling her eyes, laughing and saying, "Thaaanks!" yet again.
This time, it didn't go back into her pantry. It was found not long after Christmas in the glove-box of our car. Back in our possession again.
I visited her and her family in July, and you can read about that here and here. After we'd said our goodbyes at the end of the trip, I doubled back and popped the ham in her letterbox while the family was in the back of the house.
She vowed to get even, but that didn't bother me. I'd be ready for her!
Now my sister does odd things. She's a little left of centre, the oddball in a family of oddballs. No, maybe that title should go to My Wee Brother who has been known to do things odd enough to prompt me to send a Please-Conform-Or-Deny Email following this amazing news story which occurred in his home town a few weeks ago. (Of course it wasn't him. What was I thinking? Anyway, Wee Bro is 25, not 22.)
So, with a background of oddity, it wasn't out of the realms of possibility that she genuinely wanted to celebrate the fact that I was Me, when during Saturday lunchtime on camp, a chocolate cake elaborately decorated with whipped cream was presented in front of me with pomp and ceremony. Fifty ladies watched as I was "celebrated just for being a lovely sister" (What? Who does that?) and asked to cut the cake.
I cut into it, and felt something hard inside. I realised she'd cooked something into the middle of this cake, but I couldn't guess what. I pulled the two halves of the cake apart, and out came ...
Premium comedy, wit and practical joke, all in one. It was a moment I couldn't possibly top, and so I decided to retire from the Ham Swapping Game with my sister firmly on top as the proclaimed victor.
I popped the ham onto the lectern and it was found the next day by the speaker as she stood up to give her talk. She loved the idea and laughed along with the rest of us, but the ham inevitably found its way back to me, so I hid it in a friend's car while she was packing to go home.
Liz, you'd better check your glove-box if you haven't already.