When did women start having affairs with refrigerators? That appliance’s open doors in front of which children stand, in expectation that the whole McDonald’s menu will appear on its shelves.

I am old, but not so old that I remember men hauling blocks of ice. My grandmother had a “spring house” and in winter food froze and thawed in a wooden locker on the back porch.

Most likely the family “grip” was food poisoning.

The first refrigerator I remember as a child had a round motor on the top and a teeny tiny freezer space just large enough for two ice cube trays.

The doors of today’s behemoths have become photo albums, catchalls, sticky notes and appointment reminders — one can learn a lot about a person just by reading their refrigerator.

Mine is plastered with the following:

1. The sole photo is one of myself sitting on Kenny Taylor’s lap when he was Santa at Homespun Christmas. The caption underneath reads “There’s a dance in the old dame yet” from the New York Evening Sun’s “Archy and Mehitabel” cartoon series. Less one thinks I am without family photographs — every surface is so strewn.

2. Three Biblical references not only to soothe the soul, but are great magnets.

3. A “Directive” indicating blood type (A+), children/grandchildren’s names and addresses, physicians, hospital preferences, medications (fortunately few) and funeral instructions — body willed to UC with cremation remains to be dumped in Cincinnati’s Potters Columbarium, which should make conversation in the afterlife interesting.

The “Directive” is a requirement by my residence if someone should walk in and find me face down on the carpet.

4. A clipping about an old Cherokee teaching his grandson about life… “A terrible fight is going on inside of me between two wolves. One evil with anger, envy, sorrow, resentment, false pride, superiority, ego … the other good with joy, peace, love, truth, compassion, faith…” “

Which one will win?” asked the boy.

“The one I feed.”

5. A clipping by George Washington Carver. “How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the old, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and strong, because someday you will have been all these things.

6. Three small framed remarks: “Pride is necessary when it is all you have left”; “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never run from history. We make history.” — The late Senator, John McCain. The final was given to me by my 28-year-old grandson: “Hard times create easy times. Easy times create soft men. Soft men create hard times. Hard times create hard men.” A scary prophecy for his generation.

7. Four magnets: “Kitchen Rules — Family & Friends always welcome. Give thanks, mind your manners, offer to help, clean up after yourself”; “To the World you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the World”; “True friends leave footprints on your heart”; and, “A great many things can be resolved with kindness, even more with laughter, but there are some things that just require cake”.”

8. A cartoon — New Grandma Cargo pants with pockets labeled tissues, aspirin, Splenda, extra sweater, rubber bands, Depends, phone with photos, knitting supplies, umbrella, last will and testament. Pants come preloaded! Available in comfy, extra comfy, and extra-extra comfy.

9. A second cartoon — Pauline is tied to the tracks with an evil-eyed curled mustachio man gloating. The stopped train engine says “NOT AGAIN!”

10. This is to remind me of how America has changed in my lifetime (1938 — ). It is an excerpt from an article written on June 3, 2022 in “The Week” magazine by Editor in ChiefWilliam Faulk:

“Schools. Churches. Synagogues. Supermarkets … So far this year, this broken nation is averaging 10 mass shootings of four or more people every week. The same country recently passed 1 million Covid deaths — far more than any other nation. Tens of millions of people believe the 2020 election was stolen, and democracy itself sands on crumbling ground. Sharply conflicting abortion laws will inflame the rancor between blue and red states. Even the supposedly nonpartisan Supreme Court has split along the seams …These are all symptoms of an underlying metastatic disease: a lack of trust…Americans cannot trust that our kids will go to school without being shot. We cannot trust people to wear masks in a pandemic, because so many insist they have a right to infect others. We cannot pass sensible gun-safety laws because some people passionately believe they need weapons of war to defend themselves against government tyranny. We have self-sorted and retreated into our own worlds, our own websites, social media feeds … We cannot come together to solve our problems even when they are killing us. Thoughts and Prayers.”

And 6.5% of eligible voters in Clinton County voted in the recent primary.

Thoughts and prayers, indeed.

Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.

Ann Kuehn

Contributing columnist