Out to Pasture

“The refrigerator is getting old,” Mom said.   “It’s not keeping things as cool as it should.”

“It’s been a good old fridge,” Dad said. “It’s kept things cool for us for years and years.

“What’s going to happen to it?” Kara asked.

“Well, we can’t keep it if it doesn’t work well,” Mom said. “We just don’t have the space.”

“You aren’t going to kill it?” Kara asked. “It’s not Fridgie’s fault that he’s getting old. It’s not fair.” Kara began to cry.

“Of course we won’t kill it,” Dad said. “We’ll put it out to pasture.” He tore a paper towel off the roll and handed it to Kara.   “Now dry your eyes and blow your nose.   In that order. There you go.”

“What does out to pasture mean?” Kara asked, still sniffling a little.

“Well, when something is put out to pasture, it doesn’t have to work anymore. It can wander around in a nice field and eat grass and think about the meaning of life in peace,” Dad said.

“Fridgie doesn’t eat grass!” Kara said.

“Are you sure?” Dad asked.

“I think so,” Kara said. “Does he?”

“When it’s out to pasture it does. It will chase chickens and cows around and make a humming sound when it gets close to catching them,” Dad said.

“Like the vacuum?” Kara asked.

“Just like that,” Dad said.

“But how will he move around?” Kara asked.

“When it’s not full of all our food, it will be light enough to float,” Dad said.

“But where is his mouth?” Kara asked.

“It’s that little grill down there at the bottom.   Haven’t you heard him purr when mom wipes out his shelves?” Dad said.

“Mom, is that true?” Kara asked.

Mom was heating some soup on the stove. “What was that, dear?”

“Does Fridgie purr when you wipe out his shelves?”

“Hmmm. I haven’t noticed,” mom said. “Can you set the table? Bowls and spoons.”

“Okay,” Kara said. “Dad, can you reach me the bowls?”

“Here you go,” Dad said.

“What else will Fridgie do in his pasture?” Kara asked.   She set the table, spoons to the left of the bowls.

“We’ll come visit and he’ll wag his cord when you pet his doors. He’ll sleep standing up.   He won’t climb trees though.”

“Of course not. He’s too big,” Kara said. “What will happen when he dies?” She petted the refrigerator door, looking sad.

“Oh, he’ll be recycled of course. Then they’ll use his parts to make new refrigerators for other families, and Fridgie will live on in all those new refrigerators. It’s the circle of life,” Dad said. He got a box of crackers out of the cupboard and brought it to the table. Mom brought the soup to the table and set it on a hot pad. They all sat in their chairs.

“Dad, are you telling the truth? Will we really take Fridgie to a pasture where he’ll run around and chase chickens and eat grass?” Kara asked.

“What do you think?” Dad asked.

“No, not really. Except the part about recycling him, maybe,” Kara said.

“I think you’re probably right,” Dad said.