By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Marlene Ratledge Buchanen | Gwinnett Citizen
Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

We mostly go to the grocery store when we are running low on cat food. This week we needed almost everything for cat and people. The pantry was bare, the cats had only a small selection of canned food, and the dry food had one last crumb in the bag. We may starve, but the cats must be fed.

The most serious reason we needed to go to the grocery store was that Figaro, the Queen of our pride, had only four mini-moos left. You know what mini-moos are? They are those little half and half creamers for your coffee.

When we were nursing our cat Ramona back to health after a brain injury, I mixed mini-moos in water to teach her how to drink again. She couldn’t find water, but she could get a little smell of the milk. Well, Figaro, who was just a kitten then, decided she liked mini-moos herself.

We go through an entire ritual of presentation of the mini-moos. Yes, I talk baby talk, and she dances around my legs and looks at me with adoring eyes. Now, you have to understand, none of our cats are loving or adoring. This is the only attention I get from Her Royal Highness.

“Figaro, you want a moo? Say Mooooooo. Moooooo. Do you want one moo? Two moooos? Is it a two moo day? Come get your Mooooo. Ohhh, good stuff.” I croon.

“Yes, Mama, I want a moo. Scratch between my ears and talk in utter nonsense and I will pretend to adore you so I can get what I want.” She responds.

So to avoid a crisis in our house-hold, Snell and I went to the grocery store. We did take James to work, and then the two of us snuck off to Kellie’s for breakfast. One of the best things about going to the grocery store is Kellie's for breakfast.

We used to go every Wednesday because Kroger’s gave a discount to old people. Now that Kroger’s has stopped doing that and raised their prices and changed the entire store around, it isn’t as much fun. We had the Wednesday regular old folks’ grocery shopper meetings in the aisles. We all knew each other and spoke. We got to know one another and shared recipes. Well, OK, I listened while someone would tell me how they were making a chicken dish with Catalina dressing and such. I feigned interest. I don’t like to turn on the stove.

Some hour or more after scouring the shelves for an item that for the last 20 years has sat on Aisle three, upper right shelf, we came home. $300 worth of mostly cat food and monkey food. Monkey food is what Mama always called the junk food. You know, that stuff that we wouldn’t feed a monkey but gobble up ourselves.

Snell and I unloaded the car and had the kitchen counters and floors covered with bags of produce, fresh meats, and vegetables. I had planned on making a couple of meals. I know that shocks you, but once every month or so I do cook, maybe.

Snell opened the freezer door and went “Uh-oh.” “Uh-oh” is not term one wants to hear with an open freezer and kitchen full of food.

The freezer and refrigerator had died. We bought them new when we built this house 23 years ago. I shouldn’t complain. 23 years is a long time of working faithfully for the family. About 18 years of that time has been spent with the refrigerator door standing wide open while our son James tries to make up his mind on something to eat. Apparently, we never have anything worthwhile, and he turns to the monkey food on the counter.

Having such allergies to cooking as I do we didn’t lose much. The two packages of meat in the freezer were well thawed out, so I cooked it and threw it out for the outside critters. If you saw any extra fur-pals around this area that was why. They all dined well on butter peas, hamburger and pork chops. I cooked more for them that I have for my family in a year, maybe longer.

I started searching for refrigerators on the computer. I found what I wanted. I started calling stores, and the EARLIEST delivery date I could get was June 13. Five weeks away. Yes, you heard me-FIVE weeks for delivery. Sears, Lowe’s and Home Depot had even further away delivery dates.

I started looking for another refrigerator and found one that I liked. June 27 was the nearest delivery date. What??? They only make refrigerators when they are ordered? What are those things in the warehouses? I called Tony Britt at Britt’s Home Furnishing. It was he and his son Jamie that furnished this house with all of our appliances 23 years ago. Come to think of it; Tony did our first house 43 years ago, too.

You have to understand. Snell taught at South Gwinnett for 34 years and grew up here, plus he is kin to half the city. I taught at Parkview for 24 years and logged in another 11 years at Central Gwinnett and Duluth High Schools. We were counselors as well as teachers. Know what counselors do in the week after school gets out? We verify transcripts and sign an official graduation statement on the graduating seniors’ permanent record.

I called the unfortunate salesman that got my original call to Britt’s and was the one who told me I couldn’t have my refrigerator until June 13. He was a nice young man. He told me they had a floor model and I asked could I buy that. I don’t think he was supposed to sell the floor model.

I think I am a very nice person on the phone. I don’t raise my voice. I don’t make ugly comments. I just told him to tell Tony and the others in the store that I would start revoking high school diplomas if I didn’t get that refrigerator. I said it with a smile.

He called me back about 20 minutes later and told me the refrigerator would be at my house the following Wednesday. I thanked him ever so much. He called back about two hours later and told it would be here on Tues-day. On Tuesday morning at 7:45 I got a call that the refrigerator would be delivered at 8:00 am. The driver told me that someone was bumped to later in the day so we would be the first to get our delivery. Who knew the power I had? I may have to threaten to revoke a few more diplomas. This really worked!!! I got my refrigerator in four days and two of those days were the weekend.

As I was moving food from the ice chest into my brand new gloriously gleaming white refrigerator I thought, it is sad when your freezer holds more catnip and cold packs for aching joints than food!!!