Family Vacation Day 5: A Death in the Family

Let me set your mind at ease, this has nothing to do with the Russian mafia. Our refrigerator has died. I know, I know, we don’t own this condo, so the fridge isn’t really ours per se, but we are a caring people, and feel a certain attachment to this inglorious appliance which has provided safe harbor for our overabundance of leftovers.

Kevin the Kelvinator  seemed like he could have used a vacation of his own upon our arrival. Meemaw and I had assumed his lukewarm performance was due to her buying and stowing $362 worth of groceries from WalMart within his insulated walls, and we were confident he would soon be back up to speed. Kevin, though, never really got his groove back. By this morning, it was more than readily apparent that he had spent the night playing Twister with the Grim Reaper, and had not come out ahead.

As I shuffled into the kitchen for coffee, I saw Opa eating something unidentifiable for breakfast.

“Whatcha eatin’, Dad?” I asked hesitantly.

“Fruit salad with CoffeeMate”, he replied quite flatly, as though this were totally commonplace and did not require further explanation.

Fruit salad with CoffeeMate. Breakfast of champions. And Opa

“The fridge is dead,” came the unsolicited but welcome explanation from Meemaw in the living room.

While I was not surprised by the news, I felt a twinge of sadness. Poor, beleaguered Kevin had given us his all. We had crammed him to the gills with groceries, leftovers and frozen casserole dishes. It really wasn’t his fault.

Due to my insatiable morbid curiosity, I yanked open the door to survey the damage. My gaze was instantly drawn to the milk jug whose contents has taken on a frightful yet awe- inspiring sedimentary appearance.

“And the cheesemakers shall inherit the Earth”

In case you’d like some, are now in possession of raw cheese curds, both skim and Lactaid varieties. I hear they are very popular in Wisconsin.


Other culinary delights found upon Kevin’s shelves include two quarts of Orange Juice Hard Cider, felted strawberries, some supercalifragilistic sharp cheddar cheese, a package of ground turkey the color of asphalt, three flavors of ice cream soup, and leftover ziti that smells like feet.

Meemaw called maintenance, who sent Potbelly Paul to assess and assist. He determined that the freezer component was iced over and Kevin would need to be defrosted. I emptied the contents of the fridge into the cooler and trash can while Paul went off to fetch his tools. He returned a few minutes later, fired up a hair dryer on full blast, then proceeded to attempt a conversation with me. “You didn’t have to take all the food out, just the stuff in the freezer,” he bellowed, the Conair StylePro Plus keening away in the background.

“That’s ok,” I replied, “most of it’s gone bad anyway”.

“What?” Paul squinted and shouted, the StylePro apparently drowning out my words. I repeated my answer, with no greater success. After Paul hollered “what?” a second time, I just waved my hand back and forth in front of my neck in an sawing motion and mouthed “nevermind”. Paul gave me the thumbs up and returned to his task.

I would very much like to report that this story has a happy ending but to be honest, I don’t know. Opa and I have taken off for parts north to see my sister. The rest of Clan Calamity has gone to the beach, leaving Paul and his lovely assistant Connie to their task. I sure hope they are able to revive Kevin. He’s a part of the family now.


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