Sunday, May 26, 2019

"A Tale of Two Fridges"

By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
One man’s junk, as the saying goes, is not his wife’s treasure. That’s why she will tell him to haul it to the dump so there will be room for not one but two new refrigerators, which will keep his beer cold so he’ll have the strength to get rid of all that junk.

That was the messy situation in which I found myself after our 19-year-old kitchen refrigerator conked out. The auxiliary fridge, which was in the garage and was 21, making it legally old enough to consume my beer, was on life support. It was only a matter of time before it pulled the plug on itself.

So my wife, Sue, and I had to purchase a pair of fridges and clear space for their delivery. This meant getting rid of the junk that had accumulated in the garage since we moved into our house in 1998.

It included boxes of old newspapers and other stuff belonging to me, boxes of old ornaments and other stuff belonging to Sue, and boxes of old clothes and other stuff belonging to our adult daughters, Katie and Lauren, who moved out of the house during the administration of George W. Bush.

I loaded my SUV (shambles utility vehicle) and made three trips to the dump, where I met Chris, who manned the attendant booth.

“You have a lot of junk,” he said.

“I also have gas,” I told him through the open driver’s-side window.

“You should take something for it,” Chris said as he stepped back. “This place smells bad enough.”

“No, I mean I have cans of old gasoline,” I replied. “Where do they go?”

Chris pointed to a section behind the booth, then told me where to put my other stuff, such as paper, glass, paint, recyclables, clothing, metal, wood and household garbage.

“I’m getting rid of all this junk to make room for two new refrigerators,” I said. “My beer got warm, so I had to take drastic action.”

Chris sympathized because he owned a bar for 15 years and knows the importance of cold beer.

“My customers loved it,” said Chris, adding that he used to feed them Spam fries, which were made with the maligned luncheon meat. “My customers didn’t love them.”

Chris told me that Spam is popular in Hawaii because GIs brought cans of it there during World War II.

“My wife and I honeymooned in Hawaii,” I said.

“Did you have Spam?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “But I did have poi, which I washed down with Hawaiian beer.”

In a box of random junk, I found a Spam can that had been turned into a piggy bank. It contained 39 cents.

“Now my wife and I can afford to go back,” I told Chris.

But first I had to return home and await delivery of the refrigerators.

Jose and Mario took out the old kitchen fridge and replaced it with the new one. They did the same with the old and new ones in the garage, which had been cleared for passage.

“Do these refrigerators come with beer?” I asked.

“No, but it would be a good idea,” said Jose. “Sales would increase if refrigerators came with beer.”

“I’d offer you some,” I said, “but it’s warm.”

After Jose and Mario left, Sue stocked our two new fridges with food and I put in the beer, which was soon cold again.

I opened one and made a toast: “To running refrigerators and a clean garage. And a second honeymoon in Hawaii.”

“First,” Sue said, “we have to pay for the appliances.”

“I have 39 cents,” I told her.

“Good,” said Sue. “Buy yourself a can of Spam. It’ll go great with your beer.”

Copyright 2019 by Jerry Zezima

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