Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cooking with Gas

“So, how did your Christmas visit with the Weebles go?”

The Brother smiled at me, a gleam in his eye. “You want a story? Have I got a blog for you.” He regaled us with a tale while we ate dinner in the dining room.

The Brother had told Dad he would drop by after dinner on Christmas Day. When they arrived Dad was bustling around with dinner preparations. Mind, The Brother had emphatically told The Weebles he wouldn’t have dinner there, but would stop by with coffee after dinner.

Dad had told me on Christmas Eve, The Brother and his family were coming for dinner. I tried to tell him otherwise.

The Weebles are not equipped to handle dinner for more than two people. The wall oven in the kitchen only broils. The bake element no longer works. The door to the oven must remain closed or completely open when broiling the hinge has given way and if one is not careful the entire door falls off. They have a cook top and a small toaster oven which is sufficient to handle dinner for two.

The basement to the Weeble house has a complete kitchen, as well as a bathroom, laundry room, and family room. This remodel was one of Dad’s projects when he was in a this old house phase. The bathroom/laundry area was never finished though the fixtures work. This had more to do with tax assessment than Dad not completing projects.

The stove in the downstairs kitchen is an ancient, white General Electric box. Its appeal to the 1950’s housewife was storage for broiling and baking pans and takes up more than half the oven. If the oven was a gas model, the oven would be only large enough to fit one’s head.

“Where was Ma?”

“She was busy in the kitchen cutting a table pad for the kitchen table,” said the Sister-In-Law.

Typical of Ma at this stage. She had known about The Brother’s visit for three days, but for some OPD reason had waited until their arrival to cut and sew the padding. At least no doctor’s appointment would be missed because she was busy with her project.

Dad went downstairs to check on the chicken leaving The Brother and his family to their own amusement in the living room. Five, ten, fifteen minutes ticked by and no sign of Dad.

The Brother and The Nephew went downstairs to see what was keeping him.
“There he was,” said The Brother, “He had two sticks in his hand.”


“Yeah, he looked like this,” said The Nephew. “He was sitting in a chair in front of the oven.” The Nephew pushed his chair back, perched his glasses on the tip of his nose and hunched over in a fair imitation of his grandfather.

“At first, I thought Grandpa was using the sticks to pull the oven racks out, but then there was a blue spark and a whiff of ozone, and the sticks were charred and getting smaller.”

The element to the oven consists of a thin, coiled wire. Over the years, the wire has become brittle, but if the ends are twisted together the circuit will be complete and the oven will heat.

The Brother mimed holding two sticks and then writhed as if electrocuted while emitting an electrical BZZZZT. We roared in appreciation of his antics.

The story took on the images of a horror classic.

Dr. Frankendad was downstairs in his basement laboratory. His monster chicken was trussed and secured to the examination table.

Frankendad threw the switch. The machinery hummed to life. The electricity in the Jacob’s Ladder climbed to the top of the apparatus.
"Okay," he muttered to himself, "we're going to take it up a notch."
Dr. Frankendad opened his arms in benediction as the machines whined to an earsplitting pitch.

“Give my chicken a golden brown skin!”

There was a blue spark over the body of the pale chicken monster. A flash of blue lightning and the acrid scent of ozone, and the chicken monster skin was roasted to extra crispy perfection.

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