Ralph D. Healthier Later Years

With Father’s Day upon us, I was thinking about my Dad.  He always had an answer for everything.  Some answers just wouldn’t work but he was going to try anyway.  He was a man of great determination and a man who was willing to try, try, try.  I think you’ll find this story funny.  I still do!

My Dad and the Fridge

fridge cartoon

Many years ago my parents moved from their home in Salt Lake City, Utah to St. George, Utah to run a hotel for a colleague.  Though they were going to live in the hotel for several years, Dad felt it would be better to pay the storage fees then to purchase new items.  So we all pitched in and helped.  We all took separate rooms to pack up and clean and then loaded the trucks.  My Dad bless his heart, didn’t want anything getting damaged in the move so he roped all the drawers to the dressers shut with multiple and very tight knots, and then did the same with the fridge.

men moving fridge icon

We moved the items South then unloaded them into multiple storage units.  Now if you are not familiar with St. George, it is very hot in the summer, rather hot in the spring and fall and warm all winter.  All of these items went into metal storage units where the heat amplified, the dust collected and the items sat for several years.

Finally my parents retired and moved out of the hotel into a brand new home there in St. George.  The time had come to collect all of their treasures and move them into this wonderful new place.  A few of us kids went down to help and decided to dust and clean everything before we loaded it onto the moving truck.  This was no easy task… but with love we were glad to help.

 dresser icon

Dad started to move the dressers and fridge onto the truck before we took the ropes off so again nothing would get banged up… but we insisted he take the ropes off and dust before take these things to the house where Mom was unpacking.

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The knots were impossible.  We finally ended up cutting the ropes off.  The dressers were easy to dust and wash down.  But then we got to the fridge!  Man it smelled like some rodent had crawled under it and died.  Whew…  We sawed through the ropes, and then attempted to open the door.  With a second and harder tug, the rubber stripping snapped, crackled, popped, stretched, and basically crumbled.  Oh and the smell of the dead rat?  Not a rat!  The aroma that spewed from the fridge literally singed my nose hairs and made my eyes water.  Coughing was not an option.  You didn’t dare breath in to get enough air to cough.  The burning sensation in your lungs was overwhelming.

Unfortunately, as we were all cleaning and packing several years earlier, my Dad had forgotten to take the items of out the fridge before he roped it shut.  As we stood there now in the storage unit looking in we were shocked and grossed out and amazed by what we saw.

The butter that was once on the top shelf of the door, was now a stain of grease that appeared to at one time be a pool in the bottom; The head of lettuce was about the size of large cat and twice as furry.  I swear there was enough penicillin there to vaccinate an entire village;  The milk was paste; and the rest of the items we could quickly see were unrecognizable.

In his constant state of saving a penny, Dad said, “We’ll just take it home and put some new molding around the doors.  It’ll be okay.”

We couldn’t let my Mom see this.  We had to clean it up!  We immediately began to pull the food out.  We cleaned out slime and mold from the fruit and vegetable drawers, removed what was once meat from the meat compartment, etc…  We scrubbed and scrubbed.

We scrubbed the area the where the rubber molding had been before it decayed away.  We scrubbed the water drain, the drawers, compartments and every nook and cranny you could find!   We scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed but it just would not come clean!

Dad on the other hand had another one of his brilliant ideas!  He owned an old station wagon.  He had us load the fridge on the top of the car, laying on it’s back and he then took it to the car wash, opened the door to the fridge and drove through the car wash.

As you can guess.  That idea, though a very cleaver one, just did not work.

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Mom got a brand new fridge that day.  She was so happy she cried.  She had been begging for a new fridge.  One that had two doors and an icemaker and water dispenser in one of the doors.  Dad just couldn’t justify spending money on something so frivolous when they had a perfectly good fridge in storage.  And because he loved her… here was a state of the art, top of the line, two door, ice cube, ice chip, water dispensing refrigerator.  Until a year or so ago, she thought Dad just bought her something new just because he loved her.  She had no idea about the fridge from the storage unit. (Sometimes not knowing is better)

Ralph D on Mission in Hawaii 1948

Thanks for the memories and life lessons Dad!  I love and miss you!