Recently I brought it to my wife’s attention that we keep an unusual number of dead animals on top of our refrigerator.
Now, I know that a perfectly good argument can be made that even one is too many. But when you have two dead animals on top of your refrigerator — and keep them there for such a long period of time that it becomes necessary to make it a periodic practice to dust them — then you have crossed some Bates-motel line from the eccentric to the creepy.
Mind you, the dead animals are not immediately recognizable as such. Both are in cremated form. One remains in an unopened box. One is in a nondescript metal tin, of the sort that you might use as a gift-box for Christmas cookies. I have, in fact, during noctural raids for comestibles, occasionally forgotten the nature of this package and opened the tin, hoping to find treats. It’s quite an effective appetite suppressant.
The box contains the remains of Libby, our late and mostly lamented Springer Spaniel. The tin contains the remains of Isis, Katrina’s cat. Libby left us early this year; Isis left us, if memory serves, in late 2001. Both were euthanized by a at-home service that after the deed takes your beloved pet away and returns its ashes to you. No doubt the intent is that you sprinkle the ashes in your pet’s favorite romping place outdoors, or on some vista or promentory. I don’t think they envisioned that the remains would be kept on top of the refrigerator for a period of years. If they had, they would have made the containers easier to stack.
But my point is that on those occasions when I notice the dead pets on top of our refrigerator it strikes me as passing strange that we should accumulate dead pets there. And the long-term prospects are grim. We have two cats and a fish now, and Katrina talks of getting the kids a chincilla or a rat or something, and maybe someday another dog. Sooner or later it’s going to get pretty crowded up there. There’s going to be no more room for half-eaten Girl Scout cookie boxes or lunchboxes and whatnot.
So when I cleaned the top of the fridge off last weekend so that the contractors could rennovate our kitchen ceiling, I remarked to my wife that we might want to find a more appropriate final resting place for the animals. At least as to Isis, it seems to me that an appropriate period of mourning has passed and some sort of final disposition can be made. If she’s really wedded to the whole on-top-of-the-appliance concept, perhaps we could choose a less prominent and less food-related one, like the water heater or perhaps the dryer.
Katrina seemed quite frankly uninterested in the whole concept. Perhaps she finds some odd comfort, as I do, in the mortal remains of our departed friends watching over us from their place of honor in the kitchen. “You’ve had a hard day, Ken,” Libby seems to say. “Have that second beer.” Good dog.
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