The Broken Things
There was a good period of time the conversation among family members circled around the topic of a broken toaster, an old kitchen appliance belonging to my grandparents.
It had stopped working, which in my grandparent’s house meant it needed fixing. It often became one of the subjects discussed over phone calls, updates to the toaster dilemma, which was met with consensus from the rest of us to throw it away and buy a new one.
This was not something my grandparents liked to do. It wasn’t about the cost of buying a new toaster; that was never the point. My grandparents were from a generation that fixed what was broken, the idea of tossing something out was not a thought they often entertained, and when they did, it was most likely dissembled for parts first. The hours spent fixing that old toaster only to have it break down again and again was something worth trying.
It’s funny the things we remember. It isn’t so much the old broken toaster as much as what it stands for. I often find myself thinking of it when something around here is in need of attention. The toaster that currently sits on my kitchen counter is 16 years old, I only know this because it was a wedding present. The handle is a little crooked and the bread slides too far down on the left. I’ve thought about replacing it but I never do. It still works and honestly, as much grief as I gave my grandparents about keeping their old toaster, I now find myself doing the same.
This was something my grandparents were good at, seeing the value of what was in front of them. Spending time fixing the broken things, whether it was an old kitchen appliance, clothes that needed mending or a relationship not working. The big things got the same attention as the small things.
That’s worth something.
I wonder what it will be, what seemingly small, insignificant story my kids will think of one day, just as I think of that old broken toaster and all it stands for.