Lately, all my old things keep lasting and my new things keep breaking. (Here's where I sound like a member of AARP.) My iPod had a corrupted file, my one-year-old DVD player called it quits and my fancy stereo went on strike. Meanwhile, I get my music off a circa-1950s AM/FM/phonograph console and do my yoga tape on my ancient VCR. I once had a microwave but it became possessed by a demon and its been pots and flame ever since.
My point is, stuff used to last. Case in point: The Admiral, a modest little refrigerator that has pulled active duty for nearly a half-century at our desert cabin in 29 Palms. He has served our family well, kept our feasts protected - if not tightly compacted - within its tiny shell.
Its rounded corners and freezer that gets chubby with white ice has been a loyal member of the Clisby Appliance Family for quite a few Easters and numerous Thanksgivings. The Admiral has seen endless tupperware tubs of dip, mashed potatoes and creamed corn since my Grandfather built the house in 1960.
But the times they are a changin' and this past weekend, the half-century old appliance was given the heave-ho by Mama Iva. She'd ordered a spanking new icebox and The Admiral was given permanent leave. When the Sears delivery dudes showed up to deliver the new one, they inquired about its predecessor. We pointed out The Admiral and they laughed, "Oh, wow." Perhaps they'd only seen a live model of this design in dusty training manuals. 'Hmph,' I thought, 'they do not realize they are in the presence of greatness.
To make room for the younger model, they put The Admiral out on the sand. I was openly, verbally sad so, in turn, I was openly and verbally mocked.
I didn't care. The Admiral's forced retirement gave me pangs of Alice, my old Chevy truck. Alice was a hunk of metal as well, assumed soulless but, again, I felt differently. When she died, I sent out an email, "Alice RIP" and the outpouring of stories told me I was not alone. Ghost in the machine.
The Admiral may just have been a hunk of wire and freon tubes but he was a pretty consistent partner in my life - offering things like Mom's homemade guacamole, leftover gravy and game-playing wine. He still works fine but his era has passed; I am starting to understand this feeling. Perhaps this at the core of it.
I asked one of the delivery guys, Raoul, where The Admiral might be taken. "They'll throw it away," he said. Ack! No! "Wait. No, they recycle them. Yeah, they recycle them." Yay! Much better! For a moment there, it was a worse fate. This way, he can at least donate his vegetable tray to some retro-Suicide Grrrl.
Either way, I felt The Admiral deserved small recognition so I did the only thing I knew how to do. I rubbed his bald, white head and took his photo, thereby recognizing his/its existence and really, isn't that what we all want? Mind you, I'm bonkers but I coulda sworn I saw The Admiral puff out his freezer door chest a bit, posing for his final official portrait. If he'd had war metals, or at least some fancy magnets, they would have shone I'm sure.
Salute, Dear Admiral!