That old refrigerator had to go. Lost its luster and couldn�t keep food cold to save its life.
Looking back over the years, it stood by us, serving as a family bulletin board and album.
Ribbons of pride and promise dangled from top to bottom and side-to-side, like medals hanging from a soldier�s uniform. Decorated with magnets of all shapes and sizes, it displayed A+ spelling tests, report cards, photos, coupons, phone numbers, children�s artwork, love notes.
It indiscriminately fed our family of five, friends, neighbors and strangers alike. That old refrigerator nourished more than hungry souls. It consoled broken hearts, filled great loneliness and celebrated even greater happiness. It comforted us at all hours � both day and night.
It welcomed home three babies and several puppies. Provided for the kids' high school graduations and saw us through five college commencements.
Now an antique of sorts, it once had processed perfect pie dough, pasta sauce and potato pancakes. Yet, recently it took a turn for the worse and helplessly watched unused food spoil.
Considering how many years we've been together, I realized the day its replacement arrived how attached I was to that old refrigerator.
Solemnly waiting at attention during that lonely passage out the front door, I felt a part of me march right along with it. Weighted down as a pallbearer carrying a lifelong friend, I fought back tears as I watched it go.
As I passionately bade farewell in the mid-afternoon sun, sorrowfully seeing it teeter and wobble on the dolly lift, I noticed how the years had taken their toll on my old faithful fridge, now weathered to only a shell of its once virile self.
After the servicemen hoisted it onto the back of their truck, I hesitantly welcomed the new one � a sleek French-door beauty with pullout deep-freeze drawers, no less.
Not willing to look straight on at this bold, lustrous type, so as not to betray its predecessor, whose tracks were still fresh, I stole sideways glances while quickly filling it with food.
Quietly, the new model commanded attention, adorning our kitchen with a clean contemporary sheen. If it were not for that shiny stainless steel finish, I�d hardly know it was there, unlike the last one, whose worn-out motor sputtered about.
Trying to contain my enthusiasm, I couldn't get over all the sexy new features: Amazing temperature controls, an alarm when doors are left open, not to mention instant cold water, chopped ice and cutely shaped ice cubes at the push of a button in a lighted recessed serving bay.
Running my fingertips along the deep broad shelving inside, I marveled at its spaciousness with three-times the amount of room for fruits and vegetables. Tallying all the novelties of this spanking new fridge, I felt a sudden twinge of guilty pleasure.
Now that my old fridge is long gone, I can now proclaim, if I�ve ever been in love with a refrigerator, this is the one for which I've gone head-over-heels, as fickle as that may sound. My, how quickly things can change.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula�s columns took five first-place awards statewide. To contact Paula, email email@example.com, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2011� Paula Damon