Sun, Dec. 28, 2014
Savannah Morning News column
It’s time to clear the decks, to make a clean slate, to get ready for a new year.
I’m not talking about culling my bookshelves although that’s where I usually start when I’m looking for order or when something inside me is crying out for control because what could be better than running your eyes and fingers across all those titles and then deciding what needs to be returned or given away, either to the public library or to one of those Free Library stands that are popping up all over Savannah, the latest being the one on Gwinnett street just west of that great community garden on East Broad Street.
I’m not talking rifling through about my desk, either, another that can be another satisfying endeavor, if only to see how many pairs of scissors I can find or boxes of paperclips or pens that don’t work or yet another catalog from a seed company or some see-through glassine packages of stamps that are now outdated or torn addresses from last year’s holiday cards.
No, I am starting with my refrigerator. Not the inside, necessarily. Forget the sour cream from last year’s Chanukah party or the remaining tomato paste, now brown and crusty, or the soup swimming in an unfamiliar Tupperware container, a gift from a neighbor when you were sick, stuck way in the back, forgotten, overripe, finished.
Never mind the half-used jars of condiments. But seriously, would we need refrigeration if we didn’t have all those condiments? We don’t even use ketchup anymore, except for the occasional hotdog, and there it is, all bubbled up, ready to explode. It’s time to sell ketchup in smaller bottles. (PS. not going to happen).
I’m not even talking about the deep and mysterious vegetable bins. Those I keep a pretty close eye on. (Too much good compost). Still, there are questions. Is that parsnip or burdock? Are those turnips or rutabaga? Parsley or cilantro? Greens aren’t supposed to be slimy, right? Forget the cabbage. I never have to worry about them. Those dense and crinkly heads, which go back to 1,000 B.C., or so I read, have a shelf life of decades, minus a few outer leaves, of course, which reminds me, how does a farmer make any money growing cabbage? That’s what I want to know.
Start some water boiling. Time to use all those miscellaneous bits and pieces of carrots, celery, shallots, cabbage, sweet potatoes and beets. What about all the ghost peppers? I had a bumper crop this year but they are way too hot for me to handle, let alone eat. I grow them because they are pretty. Everyone says they want some until you try to give them away and then it’s, “No thanks.”
No, I’m not talking about what’s in the fridge, that enormous appliance that takes up so much room in our kitchens and makes so much noise when it clicks on or off or when the ice shifts.
I’m talking about what’s on the front and the sides of the fridge, all those welcoming surfaces that take magnets so well. It’s time, my friends, to reevaluate, to look under the magnets, to thin the stack, to cull the herd.
That expensive, three-color “save the date” card with multiple photos of the happy couple walking into the sunset? Oh, you mean the one where the couple broke up and/or decided it wasn’t the right time to get married? I think I can toss that and be grateful I never made an airline reservation to Michigan. Or maybe I just got uninvited.
How about the 2012 schedule of the Sand Gnats, stuck way at the bottom? Does anyone even look at these calendars? The magnets make the calendars attractive but only as a vehicle to hold up more junk or to act as advertising for real estate.
Or the birthday parties for the one-year-old or the two-year-old? Cute, yes, but enough is enough. Same with the workout schedules to the latest yoga studio, the latest gym. Are they even in business? Trash.
After a plethora of eggnog, oysters, potato latkes and legions of lines at the post office, my life is crying out for a little negative space, starting with the face of the refrigerator. How else can I ever let anything new in?