By Peter Lederman

I am finding it sadly hard to let go; say good-bye to my toaster oven.

A friend in every way for over 20 years: dependable, creative, loyal, smart and never asked for much. Came into my life quietly, no flashy come on, not even purchased at a great value in a dire time of need. Nope, simply off the shelf into my home, fitting perfectly into the small spot I had set for it and right to work. Never demanded my attention, never needed harsh words or therapeutic fixing. It just persevered. And I love it for all that.

It made thousands of bagels, artistically browning each side to my whims, and of course it toasted bread in all shapes and sizes. I realize here, that I am fighting to not call it “she” cause I don’t want to be accused of anything. Hell, she baked salmon, and meatloaf and pot pies and French fries; actually broiled cod and asparagus and reheated years of undifferentiated leftovers. Working on two slices of cold pizza was nothing for her. And all this time, never flinched, never tick-tocked to annoy me but just gently let me know when her jobs were done. She served my mom, my wife and me, my kids and their kids and don’t think for a second I wasn’t appreciative. I never ever took her for granted and thus now, when I overlook and compensate for her falterings, there are real pangs of sadness for the unavoidable end of our relationship.

The digital numbers are missing some lines so a 7 can be a 1 and 350 degrees can be 450 degrees. It takes her longer to do her work, not needing a rest but just not generating as much heat. She can only bake, no longer broil so I toast my bagel upside down. But I cling to my memory of our years together and it’s going to be with a very respectful and painful heart that I myself will have to pull her plug. Can one bury a toaster? I want to.~