While I lived in Florida, mom called weekly to fill me in on the latest from the family and the neighborhood.
One week, the latest included the tale of her Sunbeam MixMaster, the mixer that had faithfully whipped up countless dozens of cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and who knows what else. It had died. She really missed her mixer.
She told me so.
On numerous occasions.
I knew exactly what to buy her for Christmas. Before making my annual trip back to Ohio, I first braved the Christmas crowds to purchase her a Walmart mixer. What better gift could I have found?
As soon as I walked into my mom’s kitchen, I noticed the old MixMaster still sitting in its usual place, in spite of being broken and useless. Interesting.
Christmas day, mom unwrapped her gift. I removed the defunct MixMaster from the counter. My big brother asked what I was doing. I rationally pointed out that since I had bought mom a new mixer, it was time to get rid of the old one which no longer worked.
My big brother is practically old enough to be my dad. That means when he speaks, I obey. (Well, not anymore, but I did back then.) He spoke, “Don’t throw that away! Maybe I can fix it!”
He grabbed the MixMaster, tucked it under his arm and disappeared into the basement. A few minutes later he had it humming like new.
I was furious. All these months I had listened to mom
complain about describe how she was suffering without a mixer, and my brother could have fixed it at any time. Why had he waited until I bought her a new one? What was up with that!?
Resentfully I stowed the MixMaster in the storage closet. I couldn’t throw out a perfectly working appliance. And mom started using her new Walmart mixer.
A few years later I moved home to help care for my parents. I learned that mom had a way of calling attention to what needed done. She would tell me about certain problems, but no one else. She didn’t want to ‘bother’ them.
I realized my brother had not known about the broken MixMaster until mom unwrapped my gift.
Mom is gone. I’ve used the Walmart mixer until it died two weeks ago, while I was whipping up a cake. My brother suggested I buy a new mixer. “No, let me try the one you fixed.” He gave me a puzzled look; he had forgotten about repairing the MixMaster.
I dug it out from the closet and plugged it in. The beaters rotated like new. After giving it a vigorous cleaning and polishing, I returned it to the spot it had occupied for years. For some strange reason, looking at it, and using it, makes me feel really, really happy.
I prepared to throw out the Walmart mixer. My brother got to thinking. Maybe he could fix it. He took it to the basement.