Monday, September 17, 2012

Ode to a Freezer

I’ve had an odd relationship with a Hotpoint freezer over the course of my entire life. I think it’s older than I am. That’s pretty good for a freezer. (All together now:) they sure don’t make ‘em like they used to. People are still made, pretty much, the same way we’ve always been made, but if practice really makes perfect, shouldn’t we be farther along as a species? Shouldn’t we know not to make so many people? Every problem we’re facing now as a species can be directly attributed to our overabundance of population. And not one of us is perfect, no matter how much practice has been going on.

But I digress…The freezer has been doing its thing, freezing things and keeping them frozen for over sixty years. My first real memories are of Buffalo, NY. The big ol’ white horizontal thing lived in the utility room just inside the back door because I’m sure that nobody was willing to wrestle it down to the basement. When I lived with my parents for all those years, it was mostly in the garage. It’s horizontal bulk has always been impressive. When I was big enough to peek over its edge I still wasn’t strong enough to release the latch, let alone lift the lid.

When I got bigger, I used to sneak things in there, just to see what would happen: worms, grasshoppers, lightning bugs…I was the perfect (?) little savage. It slowly dawned on me that the results were always strikingly similar and that the spark of life does not survive the interior of a Hotpoint freezer. It was a sobering realization and I stopped sacrificing invertibrate and insect creatures for the sake of my own personal curiosity. But when I caught my first trout, which I had to clean myself, it dawned on me that I could keep the head looking like a head by keeping it in the freezer. My mother resisted this, but I was persistent and eventually got my way. I’m not sure how long that fish head stayed in the freezer where I could look at it. I'm thinking at least two years. I'll bet my mom was glad to see it go when I finally lost interest.

My mother prepared food en masse and froze it so that she could, when she didn't feel like cooking or if we were in a hurry, feed us throughout the week by simply reheating the chunks of ice that came out of the big white box. This was way before the microwave revolution, so it can be firmly avowed that she was always way ahead of her time. The cycle of cooking and freezing continued to the very end. She was careful to instruct the rest of us, particularly my wife Laura, in the freezer’s proper care and use. I still find it odd that a reliable and steady freezing machine would have the name Hotpoint on it. Perhaps realizing that was my introduction to irony.

Today, my mother is gone, but, down in California, the freezer is still freezing to its little heart’s content. Mom and I joked many times that we should just bury her in the thing and be done with it. (I mean, you really could.) When it finally does, as it must, give up its electrical ghost, the true passing of an era will be complete. I'm hoping it will last a good long time yet.

Oh. Forgive me a shameless plug for my new website:

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