Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hunger Games

By Allison Adams 05-26-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 05-26-12

It was like déjà vu all over again.

A partial loaf of bread, a dull knife, an open bag of chips, and an empty plate were artfully arranged on the kitchen counter.

My husband stood facing the refrigerator – door wide open.

His right hand had a firm grasp on the refrigerator door handle.

His left arm was fully extended and braced against the refrigerator doorframe.

It looked like he was using his body weight to push the refrigerator into its parking spot.

But I knew better.

I’d observed this scenario a thousand times.

I watched while he stared a hole through the contents of the refrigerator shelves.

His gaze was punctuated with an occasional heavy sigh, or a Neanderthal-ic grunt.

Every now and then he’d lean forward to go in for a closer look, as it were.

He glanced back over his left shoulder at the still life arranged on the kitchen counter as if to wonder if bread and chips, alone, would suffice for lunch - but his inner Dagwood spurred him to turn his attention back on the contents of the refrigerator.

I couldn’t take it another minute.

“What are you looking for?” I asked.

“Some lunch stuff.” he said. 

“We have ham, turkey, cheese …”

“I don’t see it.”

“If you don’t mind my saying so, you could stand to hone your technique.  You may actually have to move something in order to see what’s behind it.”

He reached inside the refrigerator, hooked his left index finger through the handle of the big, yellow, milk jug, and dragged it about an inch or so from its original resting spot.

“Nope.  We must be out of it,” he proclaimed.

“Look in the meat drawer,” I suggested. “The drawer that’s labeled ‘Meats’.”

He slid the drawer open slightly, peeked inside, and pushed it closed.

“Nope.  Just bacon,” he reported.

“Did you lift up the bacon package to see what was underneath?”

“I’ve changed my mind.  I think I’ll have peanut butter and jelly.”

He resumed his vigilant watch in front of the open refrigerator, as if expecting to witness sudden movement inside.

For several moments, he stood paralyzed.

“I guess I’ll just have peanut butter,” he announced.

Again, I couldn’t contain myself.

“The jelly’s in the door, second shelf, near the jar of Maraschino cherries!” I blurted out. “There’s a red and white checkered lid on the jelly jar!  It say’s ‘Smucker’s’ on the …”

“Found it!”

With that he closed the refrigerator door and set the jelly jar on the counter. 

He scratched his head, wandered over to the pantry, flung open its door, and faced the crowded contents of several shelves. 

He stood hunched-over with his arms hanging down at his sides. 

His knuckles rested on the floor – if you get my drift – and his staring resumed.

I watched him out of the corner of my eye as several moments passed.

“The peanut butter jar is centered on the second shelf, ” I declared.

He stood stupefied. 

“Its brown,” I hinted.

No response.

“Red lid!” I hollered.


“When you pulled the bread out of there – about an hour ago, when you started this arduous process – the peanut butter was sitting right beside it.”

“I’m skeptical!” he shot back.

“There are 3 letters on the label: J-I-...”

“I see it!”

“It’s a miracle.”

He held the jar of Jif over his head like an athlete showing-off a championship trophy – complete with simulated cheering section.

“I really didn’t need your help,” he said.  “I’d have found it eventually.”

“Define eventually.”

“It’s very challenging to find anything in this kitchen. It’s like hunting stuff on a page out of an ‘I SPY’ book.  Plus,” he said, “you hide things.”

“Well. Now you know what I do all day while you’re at work.”