It lay on the stove, charred beyond recognition. Yes, hard as it was, it was time to let it go.
It was my Perfect Pancake Maker that was actually not so perfect at all. I’m usually immune to those television “Call in the next five minutes and you can get…” offers, but I really love pancakes. So that night all those years ago I succumbed and rushed to the phone.
All I wanted was the Perfect Pancake Maker, but they kept trying to up the ante by offering me all kids of attachments. The phone call lasted a lot longer than the five minutes I had been given to cement the deal with my initial call. I declined time and time again and finally ended up the proud owner of my pancake maker with a nominal fee for shipping.
Then the most amazing, incredible, unreal thing happened. My commute to Oberlin High School each morning took about 25 minutes and my habit was to wile away that time with Trapper Jack and Jim McIntyre (who are no longer on the radio). Just as I was turning onto Baumhart Road one of them said, “Hey! I saw an ad last night for that Perfect Pancake Maker. Who would ever order something like that?”
Well, of course, I was the someone who actually had ordered something like that, so I drove in humiliated silence as they pointed out each and every flaw. For instance, who makes only one pancake at a time? Also, the sides are open so when you go to flip it over all the batter runs out. On and on they went, laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of the product for which I had just shelled over good money. Oh my!
Days passed and it arrived. Everything Trapper and Jim said was true. I tried not to believe it, but only one trial run bore out their criticism. I filled the oval bottom with pancake batter. Whew! It was going to be one thick pancake because the pan was pretty deep. I couldn’t actually get the spatula underneath the conglomeration to see if it was time to turn it, so I flipped it and batter oozed out of the opening onto the stove. Yuck!
I tossed the first try, cleaned up the stove and filled it up again. This time the plan was to give it more time to firm up. I apparently over-firmed because when I did go to flip it the pancake fell to the other side of the pan and the bottom was charcoal. So ended my pancake making. Quick and Delicious isn’t that far away after all.
My husband observed all of this with great mirth. A day later I saw him happily presiding over the device. I was surprised because I know him to not be a pancake fan. “Look — it’s actually the perfect Toasted Cheese Sandwich Maker!” he announced and that’s how we’ve used it ever since.
That is, until the other day when a phone call interrupted his cheese chef routine. It’s so easy to get absorbed in conversation and when the chat finally ended the pan was a burned on, burned out mess and the sandwich was even worse.
So it was goodbye to another chapter in our adventurous life together. May the not-so-perfect pan rest in peace.
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.