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Friday, September 21, 2012

Wherein I Mourn a Forgotten Leftover


It’s not a big fridge. You wouldn’t, for example, walk into my kitchen and say, “Well, for cryin’ out loud, check out the fridge that Pearl’s got!”

You could, but it would be inaccurate.

It’s a standard fridge, a friendly fridge. There is some unbaked cookie dough lurking in the freezer, whispering vague and imprecise promises of fat-free indulgence. There is a tremendous pot of spaghetti sauce and home-made meatballs made yesterday, sure to be perfectly aged by the time I get home. And there, on the upper shelf, the shelf that requires that I stand on my toes, behind the sour cream and the pickles and that port wine cheese spread, is a bowl.

A most unsavory bowl.

My mother would, perhaps, take this opportunity to give me that beating she claims she should’ve given me in my formative years, one possibly involving a shot of water from the hose at the kitchen sink and a Minnesota State Fair yardstick. She wouldn’t be far off the mark here, frankly, because even I, a bucket-o-bleach-water-and scrub-brush hardened cleaner of other people’s homes was taken aback.

Because at the back of the fridge?

A little bowl of fuzz.

Blue and white fuzz, to be precise, just enough to cover the bottom of a carefully covered, smallish bowl.

What was it?

We will never know.

Please bow your heads.

We’ve come here today in search of sustenance, of fare both sweet and salty, and to mourn the loss of whatever you figure might’ve been in that bowl.

It warn’t much of a bowl, a small, humble bowl, really; but it did it was made to do. It held something. It held it securely, it held it with integrity, and, apparently, it held it for a good long time.

But what it held, that’s the mystery, because like many of us, it’s not the clothes we wear, it’s what’s inside those clothes that is interesting. You and I are careful to hide the blue and white fuzz of our lives, cautious in hiding our rot to the world, but the little bowl did not have that option. Tucked behind the refrigerator pickles, behind the half-and-half and the pickled herring, the bowl waited, slowly going fuzzy with neglect.

The tautly stretched plastic wrap was never disturbed.

The bowl waited in vain.

Today, using that plastic wrap to scoop out the moldy, almost experimental contents of that bowl, now dropping said bowl into the hot, sudsy water of the kitchen sink, I am reminded of my brother, the man who once bit off one of my fingernails in an attempt to get a larger bite of my sandwich.

“Hey. You gonna eat that?”

Good-bye, fuzzy kitchen leftover. Whatever you were, I should’ve eaten you.

31 comments:

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Not to worry, Pearl, fuzzy or not-- unless it tried to escape when you grabbed it. ":))

Simply Suthern said...

I normally refrain from eating anything that has more fuzz that that on my head unless it is a peach.

Teresa Evangeline said...

You have pickled herring in your frig? Girl! I'm on my way!

It's not getting fuzzy, is it?

vanilla said...

from deep within the fuzzy bowl
whose contents we'll never know'll
come a whimper, "all is lost,
and Pearl'll never know the cost."

Shelly said...

Oh, Pearl. I hate to tell you what I thought your title was at first glance, but I read through it in my sometimes too fast way, and I thought for the life of me I was going to be reading a post about how you were mourning a forgotten lover. It pays to read all the letters between the first and last letter.

Doesn't that fuzzy stuff that sometimes hides in the fridge just build immune systems?

esbboston said...

In a veRy severely twisted Friday sort of way this piece reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysberg Address.

... shaLL not perish from the earth.

I just got finished making a batch of Uncle Ern's World Famous Soup, if you would like I could overnight deliver you a bowl. You would just have to promise to not let it die in vain.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Or planted it in a window box just to see if leftovers would grow...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

As long as it wasn't moving....or making noises....

Buttons said...

Oh I think I have it's cousin in the back of mine I should really go take another look. B

fishducky said...

Wise move--I heard somewhere that you should never eat anything that has more hair on it than you do!

joeh said...

If it was really any good it would never become a leftover.

Geo. said...

There is a cosmological meaning in all this. One finds oneself changing, confined, in metamorphosis, aging with the entropic arrow of time. Is the universe a sort of loosely monitored fridge? Ah well, one could do worse than become a little bowl of fuzz. My compliments, Pearl.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

A tale nicely told. I'm afraid I shove leftovers into the fridge and then quite often forget about them. Hubby is much better about actually looking to see what we have hidden away. We all have our talents, I guess.

Kana said...

Oh, it's so sad...oh little bowl of integrity...hold me.

bill lisleman said...

such a heart warming story about a bowl. It probably felt refreshed and ready for its next assignment after your deep cleaning. So when will you introduce the fork and spoon I do remember stories of moon travel by them.

R. Jacob said...

That must be a really tall fridge or...
you are really...cute, yea, that's it!

NotesFromAbroad said...

My leftovers speak Spanish so I just ignore them and toss them when they get to rambunctious.
Poor little bowl, you should put something in it that never goes bad ... plastic fruit, my mother in law had some .. my husband always asked her what plastic tree she picked them off of.

jenny_o said...

Haven't had something fuzzy in my fridge for a long time, but I often have stuff that's just a day or two older than I care to eat, in case that would be the day or two too many :)

And I have to say, it takes a powerful writer to make a person feel sorry for a little bowl of leftovers, but that's exactly what you've done here!

bill lisleman said...

Pearl you being my go-to cat person blogger. Please review this ad and report back.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6CcxJQq1x8

Stephen Hayes said...

How do you know you didn't just toss out the cure for some terrible disease? Just wonderin'.

Daisy said...

Mourn not...the bowl of fuzzy blue stuff has resurfaced in my refrigerator! It LIVES!

Murr Brewster said...

The refrigerator is where I store things that are too nice to throw away but will be just right to throw away in a few weeks. My closet operates the same way.

The Elephant's Child said...

Sad to say, I think most of us have found a bowl like this. I have decided not to worry until orange fuzz is added to the blue and white. I have also sworn off any fuzzy food.
Leftovers, when they're good, they are really good, but when they're bad...

Rose L said...

LOL I have had a few of those in the refrigerator. No one ever claims to have put it there, yet there it is, evolving into some new genetic being.

River said...

What? No scientific experiments to find out what it was?

Drake Sigar said...

What have I told you about creating new lifeforms in your fridge? It took hundreds of soldiers and Steve McQueen to stop the last one.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

In our house, we use ziplock bags. So much easier and not as messy when it comes time to clean out the forgotten leftovers from the nether regions of the fridge.
Rosemary

Paula Wooters said...

Another science experiment gone wrong... that's how I view these refrigerator gifts.

trustmaggie said...

I actually had a hard time reading this post. Despite the fact that I work with vomit, shit, purulent wounds, maggots, and all kinds of other ridiculous gross things.... But I cannot deal with mouldy stuff in my fridge. Can. Not. Deal.

Diane said...

Ah, Pearl, how I've missed thee! And your little fridge kitty. Niiice kitty!

Mitchell is Moving said...

Ugh. When I make those kinds of discoveries, I say good-bye to the container, too.