Modern Conveniences

And the wisdom of the ages

By Ashley Memory

Newly married, the pressure to be everything — wife, fashionista, hostess extraordinaire — had never been greater. J.P. and I were just hours away from our first dinner party, and already I hated the way my trendy beaded bracelets kept lassoing me to the kitchen cabinet handles. There was a reason my grandmother Wilma never wore fancy jewelry while entertaining, but I couldn’t worry about it now. The turkey was roasting in the oven, and I had rolls to make.

“Can I do anything?” J.P. called from the living room.

The last thing I needed was interference. Better to keep him occupied with details. “Set the table!” I yelled.

As I entered the pantry for flour, a box of Wilma’s cookware caught my eye. After her death, the box had been passed to me. But, as much as I’d adored her, Wilma had always done things the hard way. Tonight I didn’t have the time to fool with old-fashioned gadgets. In fact, this box was already taking up way too much space in my pantry. Sadly, many of Wilma’s things would probably have to go.

“Forgive me, Grandma,” I whispered, “but this occasion calls for modern convenience.”

The voice I suddenly heard was loving but wary: Better be careful.

My new planetary action mixer boasted beaters that rotated on their axis just like the Earth, and a mixer head that turned the opposite way. All this with a 1.3-horsepower motor. I wasn’t sure what any of that meant, but it sounded absolutely essential.

What it meant, I learned after I innocently stuck a spatula into the bowl as the mixer ran, was that it could fling objects, e.g., that same spatula, back at my face with a force strong enough to send Elon Musk’s Starship to the planet Mars and back again. Now I was the one seeing stars.

Didn’t I warn you?

“Everything OK in there?” J.P. shouted from the living room. “Hey, there’s a new space documentary on Nova tonight. Want to watch it?”

This was the last thing I needed to hear. “Are you kidding me?” I yelled back. “We’ve got people coming over, remember?”

Head throbbing, I retreated to the pantry and grabbed Wilma’s stout wooden spoon so I could mix the ingredients by hand. Then I looked down at my previously sparkly pink sweater. It was white with flour.

I heard that little voice again. Wilma. Might I recommend an apron?

I rifled back through the box and pulled out her red-checkered apron. Hardly haute couture, but I didn’t care. Once I put away the dough to rise, it was time to grate some cheese for the potato casserole. By now I was long overdue for some magic from my new food processor.

Do you really have time for that?

Sure enough, when I saw the shredding disk, I realized I had no idea how to attach it to the motor shaft. I gave up. “So much for modern conveniences.”

It’s OK, dear. Try my handheld grater.

“How’s it going?” J.P. called out. “Anything else I can do?

“Remember that box in the pantry? Bring it in here.”

“I thought you were donating that stuff,” he said, carrying Wilma’s cookware.

Now, now. Not so fast, dear.

I jerked off my bracelets and tossed them aside. “Are you kidding? The only thing I’m giving away are these stupid bracelets.”  PS

Ashley Memory lives in southwestern Randolph County, and when she’s not blowing up the kitchen, she’s outside hollering for the dogs.

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