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home : opinion : opinion July 18, 2019

5/20/2019 12:11:00 AM
Laurel & Hardy Moments Live On With Each Telling

Tammy Wilson
Guest Columnist


There’s often something funny about the unexpected.

One morning, I opened the refrigerator, as usual. Suddenly the entire door came off its hinges. Bottles of jam, salad dressings, drinks and condiments came crashing to the floor.

My bare foot was in inches of being crushed. Luckily, none of the glass broke and my husband was home to help lift the door back to its hinges, hoping that somehow we could keep it closed so none of the refrigerator contents would spoil until we could get it fixed. That would take a while. It was Easter weekend—of course. No one would be available to fix it until Monday, of course.

In the meantime, we had guests coming on Sunday. I hastily made a list of what to take out of the refrigerator that I might need for the next two days that would hopefully fit into the small refrigerator we keep in the garage. That dorm refrigerator has come in handy when we have company.



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I did the food switcheroo and we then taped the big refrigerator door shut so that no one would forget and open the door again.

Even the repairman later told us that it’s rare for the lower hinge to come loose, but it does happen.

Indeed it does.

It reminded me of the time when I was home alone in our first house in Mountain View. It was a Saturday, of course. I was standing in the kitchen when a loud noise and rumble made me think we were having an earthquake. An entire section of our kitchen cabinets came loose from the ceiling. Canned goods were tumbling out the doors and one end of the unit was dangling precariously over the counter below.

I quickly called the next-door neighbor to come help. We gingerly emptied everything from the cabinet and propped up one end with pieces of firewood until we could get a handyman to re-mount the cabinet.

The episode taught me to never store heavy canned goods in an overhead cabinet and to be sure all of our future cabinets were mounted with heavy-duty lag screws.

Mishaps have happened here and there over the years.  One evening, after having friends over for dinner, we lingered over dessert with candles burning.

When we finally got up to carry things back into the kitchen, my friend Patty glanced through the door and asked, “Do you have a fireplace in your dining room?”

Our candles had burned low enough to ignite their Lucite holders. Flames were scorching the table cloth and our new table. Lucky for us, the incident is nothing more than a story and a reminder to never leave candles unattended. And don’t use acrylic candle holders. They’re flammable.

All of this still doesn’t touch the infamous Laurel and Hardy day back in 1985. One afternoon, my husband was on a ladder painting the guttering out back when a friends I’ll call Terry, came to visit.  While my husband was chatting with Terry, the ladder came down in the bushes, paint can and all.  It’s a wonder he didn’t wind up in the emergency room.

Recovering from that mishap, the two of them somehow decided it would be great fun to light one of our old cherry bombs to see if it was still “good.” They went out back and lit the fuse on a wooden box in our back yard. The cherry bomb worked all right. After the loud boom, a spark landed in a patch of dead grass. Thankfully, the garden hose was long enough to extinguish the blaze before our yard and the entire block went up in smoke.

Later that afternoon, Terry wound up helping a couple of church men mount a window air conditioner for a shut-in. Someone lost his grip, the unit slipped from the window and crashed to the ground. 

Fortunately, our house didn’t burn down and no one was injured—or killed—by the tumbling air conditioner or the errant refrigerator door or the falling cabinet, which is what makes humor so humorous—that thin line between comedy and tragedy that allows things to turn out all right in the end.

Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Contact her at tamra@tamrawilson.com.


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