I haven’t owned a toaster for a year. We have also been kosher for a year.
The toaster was harder to deal with.
Last year my family moved out of state, into a beautiful house in the middle of a forest.
For some, it might feel isolated. “Home” might be too disconnected from the world, out here in the woods, for many. The nearest store is a 15 minute drive away, there are two gas stations within the nearest 10 miles, and we have 2 Thai restaurants and a couple locally-owned restaurants. School is a 20 minute drive through the evergreen woodland, and our commute into the city involves a 40 minute boat ride.
For some, living on an island might be too much. Target is a long drive two cities away, and Costco is down the road from Target. If you are interested in nightlife, social events or stores that stay open past 9 (really, 8), you are sorely out of luck around these parts.
Needless to say, for me, this is heaven.
My antediluvian drive to homestead my own home, plow my own field and cook my food over a flame in handmade clothes beside my trusty clan…might be a dream out of the ordinary.
But we are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.
This all being said, our transition out of suburbia last year was quick and a little painful; exactly like ripping off a band-aid you had placed on the middle of your forearm, right smack in the middle of the hair.
You see, while we had everything planned, organized and set to move into our dream in the forest, every dream has that weird moment when you trip and jump in your sleep. The covers are thrown off you, and you wake up mostly annoyed at the inconvenience of the situation.
The Big Trip in our dream was not events that took place in our forest, but what took place in our previous home: within a week of leaving our home, it was plundered.
The side door, as well as the deep red front door, which had been locked, were smashed in and destroyed. The last truckload of items we left in the garage were all stolen. Laundry baskets of dirty jeans, the mop, the vacuum, lamps, sewing boxes, my sewing machine, my daughter’s sewing machine, the cream and cherrywood rocking chair I bought when I first embarked upon motherhood and in which I rocked all of my children, were all stolen.
They were all gone.
The cabinet doors in all of the bathrooms were taken. The closet doors were taken. The refrigerator was taken, the microwave was taken, the shower heads were taken; and the upstairs toilet was unplugged, which flooded the entire upstairs for a few days, which caused the ceiling of the kitchen to collapse and also flood downstairs.
That was the home in which we had raised our children, and held Christmases and birthdays, and sat in the backyard during the summer waiting for some breeze to cool us off. As if the world was not as bad as people might think.
Some things we replaced with insurance money, and some things we didn’t.
We replaced the mop, the vacuum, the laundry baskets and a few other odds and ends right off the bat.
Other things, like our toaster, we didn’t.
At a certain point, I just couldn’t buy any more stuff. I hated the idea of searching for another domestic item that had held sentimental meaning, and replacing it with an unfeeling object I could find for a good price on Amazon. Replacing the iron and ironing board was okay, since I used them both for a paper making project in our new home, and they had an immediate purpose. But anything else that came up, I said, “Maybe not.”
It was too much.
So, we have lived a year without a toaster.
After all this time, I have never even thought about getting a new toaster.
Not until the other day when I found a glass and bamboo toaster that caught my eye.
I…am okay with this toaster.
It is little, wooden, compact and cheerful. I appreciate the transparency of the toaster, so you can watch your toast be toasted.
Unlike the other toasters, which are metal boxes full of breadcrumbs of secret memories.
Like the morning you toasted cinnamon and raisin bread for the kids before you had a lovely day at the zoo together. Or the afternoon when you toasted sourdough bread for lunch after church, and everyone enjoyed leftover lamb with fresh romano sandwiches, and then you all watched Dr. Who while piled on top of each other until bedtime. Quick mornings of throwing two slices of bread into the toaster, and grabbing them as we run out the door and I urge the kids to “just eat the toast!” while we rush off to some meeting we are late for, because we couldn’t find one shoe.
This toaster understands that some things are lovely to remember.
Yet, it clearly understands that you can never replace the toaster you shared with your family before, and it does not expect you to love it for the same reasons.
This is a new toaster for a new time.
When you have healed enough to consider buying a new toaster for your new home.