When our son was a baby, we moved into a house that had an old refrigerator that was an awful retro golden color. We immediately got a newer, more hip model and relegated the old refer to the garage. When we moved across town about 8 years later, we considered leaving it behind but had gotten used to a place to store extra drinks and big salads for a potluck, so it came with us.
As our kids grew up, the old refer became the source of extra kid drinks and treats. My son’s best friend dubbed it the “Golden Frig” because of the color and its magical properties. It was always full, or so it seemed to a then 4th grader.
The Golden Frig became a popular fixture as my kids passed through middle and then high school. It was a stop off for friends on their way to and from events. It hosted scout meetings, after school drop-bys, home movie nights, slumber parties and a myriad of kid and young adult gatherings. Once, one of our son’s friends stopped by and when we announced that he wasn’t home he said “that’s okay, I just stopped by for a coke.”
We started to stock it with visitor favorites much to the delight of our guests – “hey, you have my drink!” and, “this is the coolest frig ever.” It was a pit stop and communication hub and we were thrilled to know where our kids were and who they were with. It was a conversation starter: “what’s in the Golden Frig today?” and created a silly sense of excitement for our children and our guests. Maybe most important, we became the cool parents who had the house with the Golden Frig.
Over the last year the Golden Frig has had a steady decline in health. A constant humming noise with intermittent groaning made us realize it was finally at the end of its useful life (some 30 years after we inherited it.) We fully expected it to just stop one day, but it never did.
A few weeks ago, I spotted a newer frig at an estate sale and bought a replacement. I sold out the Golden Frig, our family’s great connector, for $50.
It was a sad day when we said goodbye and sent it away. The new replacement reminds us that we are in a new season of our lives. Our kids are gone now and our extra frig is now home to healthy protein shakes, medicines that need refrigeration, and an occasional beer. I’ve tried to adjust and have even considered painting it gold, but I know that just wouldn’t be the same.
Yes, the Golden Frig was a great communication hub and connector. It created a reason to gather and something to look forward to. It was predictable and reliable. It made people happy and it served as a check in point for our kids. You can’t ask more from a faithful friend than that.
Goodbye Golden Frig, and thanks for the memories.
Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com.