Spaghetti-Os, Spaghetti-Os, Wherefore art thou, Spaghetti-Os?
So . . . I was sitting around in my foam curlers, Dale Evans holsters and fuzzy bunny slippers, thinking about what I'd write today when an e-mail from a friend triggered some memories: She was in the process of defrosting her freezer!
Sometimes I think my skill set is, uh, a tad limited. Oh sure, I can string together enough words to write a proper thank-you note. And I practice the recommended method for using dental floss. I can reload a tape dispenser in no time flat. I have excellent spatial abilities. I can even roll my tongue. (The ability to do so is likely not an inherited trait, despite what you may have been taught in Bio 101.) But really, what skill do I possess that's truly useful in the real world?
What a gift it was, then, this unexpected boost to my self-esteem, this detail in my friend's note to remind me that I am not just a shivering blob of protoplasm (something else that doesn't match what we learned in Bio 101), but protoplasm in shivering possession of an actual, bona fide practical skill. I, too, know how to defrost a freezer!
I give a nod here to my father, the one who taught me. Actually, he didn't so much teach me, as allow me sit cross-legged on the floor next to him while he de-iced the frozen mess. And with that great, gelatinous glop that is a child's brain, I learned by watching him.
Our refrigerator was stylish
stainless-steel, a 1950s built-in behemoth. It had a bottom-drawer freezer featuring a big basket on rollers that made it easy to access the contents: loaves of Oroweat from the day-old store, a half-gallon rectangle of banana-walnut ice cream (Dad's favorite, ick), white-wrapped hamburger clods, and the foil-clad salmon my grandfather would deliver once each year when he came down from Oregon in his camper truck. That fish was a thing we never, ever ate, and it had a habit of burying itself at the bottom of the drawer.The freezer also had an ingenious built-in system for alerting us when it was time to remove the accumulated ice: the drawer would be so impacted that it would no longer open! Nothing says "fix me" like inaccessible ice cream.
Defrosting the freezer was a father's job. My dad would switch off the appliance and fetch some towels from the linen closet. Then he'd lay a mat of newspaper on the kitchen floor and set a pan of hot water in the freezer drawer. After a bit of time had passed, he'd open the freezer and take to the ice with his specialized collection of defrosting implements: table knives, spatulas and wooden spoons. Dad explained the importance of not using a tool that was too sharp, lest the freezer walls be damaged. Dad hammered and chiseled. Softening slabs of ice broke free, and soon enough, the sliding drawer would loosen, and the lost treasure of frozen food would emerge!
My job was to carry the soup pots of shed ice out to the yard. I dumped them on the grass while Dad continued to scrape and pry, pound and jiggle, digging out the last bits of ice. When at last he was done, he sopped up the mess with the clean bath towels, and I stuffed the soaking newspaper in the trash. The freezer was clicked on. Bread and burger and banana-walnut were reinstalled. The big, frozen fish, ice-burnt at the ends where its aluminum wrapper had peeled back, was thudded into the metal garbage can outside.
And just in the nick of time, it seemed, as soon would come the inevitable phone call from my grandfather. He would soon be headed to town. And surprise of surprises, he was bringing us a special fish!
Coda: Defrosting a freezer is like falling off a bicycle—you never forget how to do it. But is it any wonder I own a frost-free model?
Nancy Carol Moody
I'm a poet and a letter-writer. Yup, that kind. The kind who uses pens and paper and actual stamps. The kind who will leave the house with nothing on the agenda but to get to the mailbox before the scheduled pick-up time. The kind who understands that technology is a wondrous thing, but nothing quite beats finding a real letter with a real stamp on it amid the credit card solicitations, pizza coupons and seminar catalogs.