Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Unlikely Sentimental Treasure

    It's hard to imagine how a green electric frying pan could be among *anyone's* sentimental things.  Especially this one.  It's not much to look at, with it's late 1960s olive green finish, blotched with permanent stains, like battle scars, from years of use.  The bolt holding the leg on doesn't do much for its looks either.
    But I still remember the day I got it, in the very late 1970s.  My parents were freshly divorced, and oddly enough, no one fought for custody of the olive green electric frying pan.  It was not one of the things my mother took when she left, and my father never used it. I stopped over one day and he was going through things in the cabinets.  He pulled out a step stool, climbed onto the stove and opened the cabinet just under the ceiling.  From the back, he pulled out this frying pan, and asked if I wanted it, or if he should throw it out.  Of course I wanted it!!  It was like new, and it was larger than the typical square electric frying pans.  The finish was the old Silverstone, which wore like battle armor.  I didn't have much money at the time, and could never have afforded such a nice frying pan, so I was elated.  I used it regularly.
    As I married and my family grew, the frying pan was a staple in the kitchen.  I was heartbroken when I accidentally broke one of its legs, but my Grandpa Bill Knutz, an old "do it yourself" farmer, fixed it.  And fixed it, and fixed it.  Eventually it got to be a heated competition between Grandpa and that frying pan leg.  Over and over, he glued that leg on, each time vowing it wouldn't come off again.  The last time I took it to him to fix, he carted it down to his basement workshop, and brought it up with a bolt holding the leg on.  He said that leg would outlast the frying pan.  He was right.
    A couple of months ago, I was preparing to fix chicken and dumplings in my frying pan, when it was accidentally knocked off the kitchen counter.  All off the legs were shattered.  Well, not all of them.  One held tight.  My husband looked at the numerous broken pieces and declared it dead.  I'll be shopping for its replacement today, not that anything could truly replace it.  It and I have been friends for 30 years.  Every time I saw that bolt in the leg I think of my dear, dear Grandpa Bill.  Call me silly, but I put the pan in the back of the cupboard, where it would be out of the way, with the shattered leg pieces, and the one solid leg.  I can't throw that pan away.  Some day, when my sons sort through what's left of my earthly belongings, they'll find that pan, and sentimentally say, "Mom was crazy."  :)