Help! - A Drama in Real
by Menucha Levin
At first, I tried to ignore the early warning symptoms - the
sluggishness, bad breath, wheezing and steadily rising
temperature. But as the summer continued, these symptoms grew
worse and I began to suspect the patient was truly ill and
clearly needed treatment. I phoned one of the top specialists
in the field who still makes house calls. Better yet, he
lives in our neighborhood and his son is friends with mine.
But even this protekzia didn't help much - there were
cases more serious than ours that got priority rights.
Finally, one evening, the specialist arrived, black bag in
hand. But why did he have to pick the middle of dinner hour,
when the kitchen was at its peak of messiness?
Surreptitiously kicking some of the clutter under the table
(in lieu of a rug) and sweeping the kids out the kitchen, I
welcomed him in and indicated his patient. In typical
fashion, he poked, probed and prodded in ominous silence
while I anxiously awaited his verdict. My heart sank when he
told me the chilling news I had already suspected. The
illness was, indeed, serious, possibly terminal.
"I'll do my best, but I don't know if it'll help," he said
Oy vey! My poor fridge was dying...
Though it was an old appliance, it had served us faithfully
for a very long time. I recalled the Shabbos and Yom Tov
foods it had sheltered over the years. Even when crammed to
the gills so its door barely shut, it had never
Its familiar humming had always kept me company as I worked
in the kitchen. More than just an appliance, it was also the
family bulletin board, a display center for photos, cartoons,
the kids' artwork, perfect tests and the home of my eclectic
hobby-collection of fridge magnets. My favorite was, "Don't
ever question your wife's judgment. Look who she married!"
Long familiar with our fridge's quirks and pecularities, the
thought of acquiring and getting used to a new model, a new
heartbeat in the kitchen, was overwhelming. But I had to face
reality. It had survived the winter and had seen us safely
through another Pesach, but now in the summer heat, it was
barely able to keep food cool anymore and the freezer section
was totally kaput. We'd already adjusted our diets and
omitted frozen foods. Milk was bought daily. Important
leftovers were given sanctuary by kindhearted neighbors. Ice
cream and parve frozen desserts for Shabbos were just a fond
memory and we had to make do with cake alone.
The specialist worked for hours, trying to prolong the life
of our ailing appliance. But however successful he may have
been, we realize that its days are numbered.