From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 6/15/2013 5:47:35 AM
Subject: FREEZER - June 15
I once had a full - size, upright GE freezer out in the garage for which I shelled out $149.99 (delivered). My next extraordinary ploy was to buy a complete Black Angus steer; the cost to me was $310, cut up, wrapped and labeled. Hell of a deal.
Even so, there was plenty of room in the freezer — ample space for the loaves of bread, fresh rolls, cinnamon buns and other goodies the NBC bakery supplied daily for sponsorship of my nightly TV shows. Naturally, nothing found its way to the outstretched studio hands or homeless beggars or Must Ministries; everything was MINE, horded in my freezer.
On a normal day, the shelves were stocked to the gills. There were times I had to lean all my weight against the door to close it.
There was only one problem: I was the only person in the house who ate meat and baked goods. I was surrounded by vegetarians and gluten free cretins who would rather starve than break a precedent.
Consequently, I personally dined better than a reining Tudor.
King Henry VIII did not in his best hour fare so well as I. I daily imbibed in an unending supply of T - bone steaks and rich, lean hamburger — not to mention a plethora of beef chops, cutlets, roasts and other delightful steer’s innards.
With stored and frozen vittals, I gained at least 600 pounds that first year alone.
Luckily, in those days, we had two full kitchens; our house was a split - level that featured a second kitchen near the basement. It was not exactly a kitchen originally — it was more like a playroom, a pen, if you will— for the previous owner’s pet. You see, they had a monkey they called Timothy — actually, he was more like a small gorilla who lived in a wire cage bigger than my powder room, complete with a climbing trunk and a trapeze.
The couple from which I bought the house was childless, and Timothy, outfitted in a sort of diaper, more or less filled the bill.
The first time I examined the house, the owner let Timothy out of his pen to play —Just hold out your arm and Timmy will swing on it! — with abject trepidation, I did as I was told. Timothy nearly ripped my arm from its socket!
I bought the house anyway, mainly because the playroom had a full range, grill and oven, faucet and sink, and plenty of room to broil steaks from my yet to be acquired freezer. I did not even notice until after the closing the beech wood saplings Timothy had denuded in the backyard.
There was also a bar and liquor cabinet in the 2nd kitchen, and I kept it well stocked with Chivas Regal Scotch, Martin’s Vodka, cordials and assorted other companions for my nightly ritual of medium - well T - bones, etc. Dining at midnight and late Saturdays and Sundays became a way of life for me. All went well until the night I misplaced the freezer key.
The whereabouts of that key was a long lost conundrum, originally affixed to a ring on which I kept the riding mower key, an instrument I used but once a week. Normally.
I say normally because in those halcyon days it was my practice to participate occasionally (at least thrice weekly) in late night riding mower races around the suburban circle on which we lived. And always in the company of like - minded, adventurous neighbors, such as the Selners across the street.
There were as many as thirty homes on the ¾ mile oval, and as many as six of us were regular racers. It goes without saying newcomers were welcomed with open ignitions, such as Jim Cullinane from next door. Jim, a lefty who pitched at 100 mph for the Pittsburgh Pirates, until a bazaar accident deprived him of a finger on his pitching hand and they had to let him go.
One night, some ne’er - do - well called the police on us, claiming it was time decent people let others enjoy a quiet bedtime (I saw no reason to take such harsh action — it was, after all, just after 3 AM) — and when the gendarmes came, they confiscated the keys to our riding mowers — with the assurance we’d get them back if charges were not filed.
Of course, no one had the audacity to name names, but when the keys were returned, my freezer key was missing. Where was it? No one knew.
To this day, the freezer remains locked. I called a locksmith, but he wanted $50 to open the box. Fifty dollars! I cried. The damn thing already cost me a hundred forty - nine and ninety - nine skoots to start with! No way!
(I did not mention it, but I was on my riding mower at least twenty yards behind my nemesis from across the street when the cops came. I have no way of knowing for sure, but that is when the key probably slipped out of the ignition and all was lost.)
The split - level, the riding mower, the ape, the freezer, the beef, the key ring, the Chivas Regal, etc., are long gone now, fifty - two years later, and I am back to my fighting weight of 199, not that I get many challengers these days.
But I can still taste those luscious T - bones.
Robert A. Mills
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