Just the Other Day: Socks and Silverware

It’s happened to everyone I know; you’re running late for work or an appointment. You dash to the dryer to grab a particular pair of socks…but you can only find one. You quickly throw all the laundry in a basket, run to the bedroom and dump the clothes on your bed. Frantically, you search through the static-charged clothing to find the other, but it is not there. Immediately, the washing machine gets blamed for eating another sock. You probably left the house wearing socks that look ridiculous with the pants you had on or maybe even an unmatched pair.


Ever since mom traded her red and white Maytag wringer washer for an automatic machine, socks have been disappearing in the laundry. But washing machines aren’t the only untrustworthy appliance in the house.


When Melissa and I were married, we received dishes as a wedding gift. Dinner and salad plates, bowls and cups – a setting for ten.  Our mismatched collection of silverware did not look good with the new dishes, so Melissa bought new. We kept the old and to this day we have two silverware drawers.


Day to day, I prefer the old knives and forks, but when company comes, we break out the good stuff. The new flatware came in a setting for eight. Since we had dishes for ten, Melissa bought two sets of the silverware. It has a hammered pattern on the sturdy handle. It looks really nice, especially with our plates, but I think the handles are too heavy.


The other day I was emptying the dishwasher. It seemed the silverware count was off, so I took an inventory. We have fifteen dinner forks and nine salad forks; fifteen small spoons, nine soup spoons and twelve table knives. We originally had sixteen of each. Where did the rest of the silverware go?


I checked the dishwasher, as one would check the washer for a lost sock; there was nothing there. I checked the other drawer to see if some of the new was mixed in with the old. Nope. I looked in the cooking utensils drawer and struck out again.


Pondering the whereabouts of the missing silverware, I began thinking of likely suspects. I began reciting that old nursery rhymes: “Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon; The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.”


With one eyebrow raised, I looked at my dog June, with suspicion. She looked at me declaring, “I didn’t take it. I don’t eat with silverware.” She was innocent and the dish couldn’t have run off with the spoon, because all the dishes are present and accounted for.


I’ve concluded, either the dishwasher eats silverware like a washer eats socks, or, we need to start having our dinner guests pass through a metal detector on their way out the door. Maybe I should check the utensil drawer again. There’s a lot of stuff in there.


Speaking of utensils, when visiting Duluth, Melissa and I frequently go to Father Time Antiques, in Canal Park. I always look at the old kitchen stuff. Some of my favorite kitchen tools are antique; my pastry and biscuit cutters, measuring cups and spoons and more. Those old utensils are better than what you can buy today, especially my potato masher.


A thick wire sweeps outward from the contoured wooden handle.  It makes a squiggly line across the bottom of the masher then arches back up into the handle. It’s larger than most potato mashers – a real beast!


The other night, while fixing dinner, I called to my wife in the living room, “Honey,” I bragged, while smashing those Idaho spuds, “my potato masher is a beast – a real monster.” I wasn’t sure if she didn’t hear me or was just ignoring me. “Honey, I’m mashing the potatoes.” I said a little louder. No response. “Honey, do you know what I’m doing?”


She finally answered, “You’re mashing potatoes with your monster potato masher.”


“Yeah,” I laughed, “you might say I’m doing the Monster Mash!” I started singing, “He did the mash. He did the monster mash. He did the mash. It caught on in a flash. He did the mash. He did the monster mash. Ow-oooo…” I danced with the pan in my left hand and sang into the utensil in my right, like a microphone covered with potatoes, “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist? It’s now the mash…” From the living room, I could hear the volume on the TV increase – substantially. Oh, the fun I have entertaining myself in the kitchen.


Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever solve the mystery of the missing silverware – or socks, for that matter. On a brighter note, the sooner the rest of this silverware disappears, the sooner we can get some new – with lighter handles. For everyday use, I still prefer the old silverware anyway.