One of the things I love about summer is a cold glass of sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime with lots of ice. I love the clink of the ice followed by the sizzle of the pour. I often drink this refreshing thirst-quencher on my back porch, appreciating the coolness, especially after working on the land in the hot sun.
My refrigerator has an ice maker where I can have ice whenever I want. I don’t know about you, but I think the refrigerator and the ability to make ice at any time is something I would have a really hard time living without. I open my refrigerator several times a day. What do I want for lunch or breakfast or dinner? Sometimes I just stare at the contents, especially after I’ve shopped, admiring all the colors.
The refrigerator for home use was not invented until the early 1900s, with the first self-contained unit being introduced to the American public around 1923. However, the refrigerator didn’t take off till about the 1930s with the creation of Freon. (Freon, of course, was banned in 1994 due to the harmful effects on the environment. Today, a safer refrigerant is used.) In the 1940s, about forty percent of American homes had a refrigerator and by the 1950s, when the price to buy a refrigerator went down, it became an essential kitchen appliance. Before modern refrigeration, people used to harvest ice from frozen lakes or ponds and store it in ice houses covered with sawdust until it was delivered to households by horse drawn wagons.
I grew up with a refrigerator, but my mother never took it for granted ‘nor did my older mother-in-law who was raised in a time when ice blocks were delivered and placed on top of her family’s “icebox.” As she was growing up, her family couldn’t make special dishes for guests ahead of time ‘nor stock up on fresh items. They couldn’t save leftovers and therefore always made their children eat everything on their plates, a habit passed down through the generations.
My mother and my mother-in-law were quite different people in almost every way except for their fascination, and possibly adoration, of the refrigerator and the freezer. A design that made their lives amazingly simpler and easier. Something I should always remember when I complain about cleaning it or when the power goes out.
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” Thomas Fuller
How did you find solace this week?
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