All I Want For Christmas Is...Canned Mushrooms?


My parents live in Slovakia. My sister lives in Germany. I live in the United States. This means we have not celebrated Christmas together in a very long time. Long enough that I can't even remember the number of years - ten, fifteen, longer?

Since we can't celebrate Christmas together, we ship presents to each other. My Mom is the only one who can do this in a timely manner. Her first package usually arrives in the middle of October (both to me and my sister). I say "first", because once she realizes she still has two months left, she can't resist buying more stuff and sending a package number two (which arrives in the first half of November) and finishes off with a package number three (which gets to us right before Christmas).

My sister and I are the exact opposites. We start planning and asking about what the other one would like for Christmas in September, but then don't do anything until it's clear our presents won't arrive to their destinations in the given year anymore. But we do send them, eventually. 

This year it was my sister who was the last one to the post office. She told me she sent the package right before Christmas and I kept checking the mailbox daily. I knew she sent nougat filled marzipan covered in chocolate. This is a treat not available in the United States and only available in holiday season in Germany. It also happens to be my addiction. OK - if you can have a once a year addiction. 

So finally a few days ago, I opened the mailbox and there it was. A big box. In a plastic bag. At first I thought the post office must have put the box in the plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet in case of rain. How nice of them. Then I noticed  the box was already wet. I realized the bag was there to prevent it from dripping. I instantly got mad. It's really easy for me to get instantly mad due to my condition called pregnancy. Different scenarios were flying through my head. Was it sitting in some storage in New York or New Jersey during the Sandy hurricane? I recently received a book by Neil Gaiman called Chu's Day. The pages were warped. Turned out cartons of books were stuck on the ship that was unable to come into port during the hurricane and the tremendous humidity caused a ripple effect on the pages of the book. (I decided to keep my copy. The book not only contains a story written in it, it contains another story written by wind and rain.). 

I brought the box home. As I was opening it, it dawned on me the liquid seemed to be leaking from the inside. What was my sister thinking? Why would she send something breakable? I reached in through a little opening I managed to make in the box. I pulled out a can of mushrooms. I was staring at it utterly confused. Mushrooms? She sent mushrooms? I reached in and pulled out another one. I ripped the box open. Sixteen cans of mushrooms. Half of them broken (their pull-off lid did not hold strong enough).

I still hoped maybe my sister just grabbed the wrong box. Maybe they went to Metro (equivalent of Costco) and got a box of mushrooms that was sitting in their pantry. Maybe she put the Christmas box next to it for a couple of days, before heading to the post office and then mistakenly grabbed the other one. But she did not. The lady at the post office put her address label on the wrong package. My sister did not write the address on the box (only on the label) and the mushroom people neither. Therefore there is nothing that can be done to track the package. 

It's sad to know that presents my sister sent are forever lost. It's sad I didn't get my nougat marzipan. But I like to wonder about the other story - the story of a Christmas package that was delivered to a wrong address. Maybe it has another story written by snow in it. Maybe it has a happy ending. You just never know.





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