There are people, I’m told, who have perfectly clean, virginal and pristine refrigerator doors. Doors so uncluttered, you can even lean against them and never fear of destroying either your clothing or precious artwork.
I, personally, have never seen such a thing and doubt they actually exist. At least such a thing doesn’t exist in our household.
Although, I seem to remember, sometime deep in the misty memories of my youth, my mother used to have a big, white Frigidaire (and that if I saw it now, I’d be amazed at its small size) standing on one side of the kitchen, with a bare door.
Then, about 30 or 40 years ago, or as near as I can recollect, somebody invented the refrigerator magnet. With that development, the refrigerator wouldn’t be permanently marred and whatever was being attached to the door wouldn’t be destroyed.
Suddenly, the kids’ artwork from school could be displayed in a prominent location, important notices (such as reminders to pick up milk) had a central location and especially noteworthy and appropriate cartoons could be torn out of the newspaper’s funny pages.
Somewhere in my reading, I ran across the quote: “Carefully examining a person’s bookshelves reveals more secrets about them than prowling through their medicine cabinets.” The same can probably be said about reading refrigerator doors.
I know whenever a new visitor to our place passes through the kitchen, they almost always spend a few minutes reading the front of the fridge. Since everyone at a party seems to gravitate toward the kitchen, the G.E.’s door can even provide a major conversation starter.
We’ve got two yellowing, cut-out cartoons that have been attached to the front of our refrigerator for so long that they’ve even made the transfer to the new refrigerator when we moved from the house to the apartment a few years ago.
One cartoon shows a couple facing each other. She says, “I’ll follow you to Seattle, but I’ll be miserable. Is that what you want?” And he replies, “I’ll stay here, but I’ll be miserable. Is that what you want?” Beneath the drawing are written the simple words, “Something’s got to give.”
The other cartoon is, of course, a Gary Larson “The Far Side.” (Doesn’t everyone have at least one “Far Side” cartoon stuck up somewhere?) It shows one dog relaxing in an overstuffed living room chair, with a can of dog food in one paw and an open bag of munchies on the floor. The seated dog says to the one standing beside it, with its paw on its doggy hips, “Hey look...you knew I was a non-working breed when you married me.”
Besides those virtually permanent cartoons, there is a selection of rotating efforts of “Arlo and Janis” and “Sally Forth” cartoons that my partner, Marjorie, thinks illustrate some particularly significant foible. Then, there is also the collection of snapshots of parents, brothers and sisters and assorted nieces and nephews.
All of this is stuck to the front of the refrigerator with cute, little magnets (sold at virtually every souvenir stand) that show far-off places or proclaim such things as, “Men are good for one thing...and how important is parallel parking?” or something else sarcastically.
We’ve also got a slew of flamingo-shaped magnets.
I foresee a day when you’ll walk into an appliance store to buy a new refrigerator and the salesperson will not only point out the cubic feet of chilled volume but also the reinforced door hinges and — especially if you have children — the heavy-duty counter-balancing. Look for it.
GARY McDANIEL is a longtime Magnolia resident. To comment on this column, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.