How I remember the good old days when I arrived here. I was needed and treasured in a home belonging to a happy farmer’s family. The energy was pulsing through my wires and I even had a light that illuminated everything when my door was open. I was filled with all good things. There was always plenty of milk cartons and butter. I would keep it fresh and cool during the summer and regulate the temperatures during the winter. In the winter months I did not need so much power as it was cooler outdoors, but in summer the children would be opening my doors and laughing with delight at the many ice creams that would be stored in my extra cold part, oh that was fun. Of course the kids got older but still loved their ice cream. The farmer’s wife would keep the meat and cheese in my vaults, as well as other groceries that needed my cooling breath. I saw the children grow and I had my cosy corner in the kitchen. There were times when things got a little bit uncomfortable. I was getting clogged up with ice on my pipes. I would feel very sad when my energy was cut off, but the ice would melt and I would be cleaned and then put back to work. I must admit I did feel much better after that treatment.
Life was good and I did my job to everyone’s satisfaction; at least I thought so, but then one fine day I was switched off. No explanation, no excuse, just switched off. The impulses were no longer throbbing through my insides; I was no longer cool and refreshed, just warm and bothered.
“Hey mum, where shall we put it, it will be in the way now in the kitchen.”
“I would put it on the truck and take it down to the waste heap. It will only get in the way.”
That was the conversation I heard between two of the children. Were they talking about me?
“No, you never know” and the farmer’s wife joined in the conversation. “We have enough room down in the cellar and perhaps we might need it again one day. There is also a law that says you cannot just throw a fridge away as it may pollute the atmosphere. Joe, Jack remove it to the cellar.”
And so my days came to an end as a central attraction in the kitchen. My ice creams and cold drinks were no longer wanted. As I was moved down to the cellar I was passed on the stairs by a new, shiny refrigerator, twice the size of myself. It laughed as it looked at me and informed that my days were over. He would now organise the frozen part of life in the farmhouse.
So I spent the long summer in the darkness of the cellar, empty and no longer needed. Now and again the farmer’s children and wife, even the farmer, would come down to the cellar, but I was ignored. I might be pushed onto one side because I was in the way, but I was no longer called for. I even developed a couple of rusty stains on my once shiny and attractive body. They looked ugly against the once polished white surface I had.
Meanwhile in another part of the farmhouse a conversation was taking place.
“What shall we do with you all this winter? Last year I put you in the attic, but now that has been rebuilt for the children. They are growing and need their own bedrooms.
“Mildred, is that farm lady talking to us?” spoke Barney
“I think she is” answered Mildred “but everyone knows that we don’t talk to humans, although we understand them. Does that mean we have nowhere to go in winter? That does not sound good, I have already started feeling tired and I think in a few weeks I will be in a deep sleep.”
“I know Mildred, the blood has started to flow slower through my body as well. And then we have the children. Admittedly they are still young, a mere twenty or thirty years old, but they will need their sleep as much as we will.”
“Hey dad” spoke up one of Barney’s children. “What did I hear; they don’t know what to do with us during the winter. I don’t want to be put in any old place, there are too many mice and other creatures around here that might like to make a meal on us during the cold winter months.”
“Don’t worry son, just stay cool, I am sure Mrs. Human Farmer will arrive at a solution.”
So things were worrying for some living in the farm house. One evening the farmer’s family were sitting together for the evening meal.
“We have a problem with some of our co-inhabitants” she said “We don’t have anywhere for them to go during the winter.”
“You mean Mildred and Barney and their children” spoke up the youngest. They are part of our family and have been with us many years, there must be a solution somewhere. Let’s just think it over. They need plenty of room but it must be cool and it should stay that way until they wake up when spring arrives.”
“I have it” said the farmer. “The old fridge down in the cellar, that would be ideal, and we even have electricity down there.
So it came to pass a few weeks later that Mildred, Barney and their children were packed into boxes lined with straw. They were already deep in sleep and did not notice that they were being moved.”
The humans are back in the cellar again, but carrying boxes. Just a minute, something is happening. I feel a breath of cold air and electricity is travelling through my circuits again. My light is working and the door is opening. I am being put into use; my miserable days in the cellar are no longer miserable.
The boxes with the straw containing Mildred, Barney and the family were put into the fridge and they stayed there until spring arrived again. It was the ideal place for keeping the tortoise family throughout the winter. Their soft snoring noises did not disturb the refrigerator and it was happy to be put into use once again. Mildred, Barny and the children lived for many years and spent many winters in the fridge. In later years the farmer’s grandchildren always made sure that the tortoise family were kept in the fridge during the winter days.