DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR ON THE BEER FRIDGE ERA!!!
A FROSTY JOHN McNAMEE RAISES A TOAST TO A SACRED INSTITUTION
SOME people just don’t get it do they?
A well-respected consumer affairs reporter for one of our top daily newspapers recently advocated getting rid of the old beer fridge which would represent an average saving of about $200 a year on the household electricity bill.
They’re even encouraging people to offload their treasured refrigerators in an ill-conceived Government buyback scheme….offering $35 for fridges at least 10 years old and 250L in size!!!
It’s outrageous!!! It strikes at the very root of our Aussie society and I urge you blokes around the nation to dig in and fight for your right to keep your iconic backyard beer fridge.
Two hundred bucks a year? So what! Think of the inestimable value these humble contrivances contribute to the fabric of society.
A measly $200 a year????
That’s like saying they could save trillions of euros each year in highly sophisticated electronic surveillance measures by putting the Mona Lisa behind a standard Yale padlock and key and illuminate it with a 40 watt bulb. Or use a 1946 JAP generator to power the Tower of London.
Or just run a string of fairy lights across the mighty Hoover Dam…..or instead of that spectacular lighting display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge every New Year, they could just have a few penny bungers, a Catherine wheel and a Roman candle. Or stick a row of kerosene lamps around the bottom of the Opera House.
I mean it’s an appalling false economy isn’t it? Oh sure those beloved old Kelvinators and Frigidaires which clank and crunch and chew up all those fossil fuels out there on the back verandahs and garden sheds of homes across this country, don’t do us any favours when the power bills come in each month.
But, and I don’t want to be sacrilegious here, the common back yard beer fridge is a sacred establishment, the rituals of which have been passed on down the generations from father to son over the past century or so.
Their place in society, and I don’t want to exaggerate here, is as vital and integral as many of the more traditional social institutions.
Forgive me for saying this, but I reckon the old beer fridge has saved more marriages and sanctified more relationships that Holy Mother Church Herself.
OK, you think I’ve gone over the top and I’ll be struck down by the next bolt of lightning… but bear with me.
Without the beer fridge out the back to hold the precious supplies, no Sunday arvo barbecue would be complete.
Without its comforting clatter and hum, without its rapidly frosting up deep freeze compartment, without its rusting steel shelves and mysteriously brown stained walls and inner door, there would be no peace and harmony within a normal household.
Pleasant afternoons with friends and neighbours would turn into vicious backyard brawls, angry tirades, people storming off repenting loudly that the “grog’s bloody warm,” and once loving relationships would founder bitterly amid vales of tears.
Let me give you an example….in my humble beachside abode, She Who Controls The Kookaburra Stove, has right of way, mostly and generally indisputedly, in the kitchen.
When friends are coming around, duties are congenially split between the provider of food and delicacies (Her) and ample supplies of cold amber fluids and copious fruits of the vines (Me).
Now this arrangement works perfectly…but it almost foundered some years ago before I was able to purchase the second hand white Westinghouse 150S which still holds pride of place on the back verandah (sorry dear, the patio.)
It was a hot Sunday arvo in summer, it was our turn to host the barby, I’d spent all week re-staining the deck and borrowing the extra chairs from the club, and the blokes were starting to arrive, each one with a monumental thirst that would do justice to a pack of Bactrian camels who’d just spent the past month wandering the Sahara.
Now we had a big, two-door 5.19L Fisher and Paykel back then and its lower compartments boasted a liquid freezing area that kept the good old Aussie beer at a chatteringly teeth-clanging temperature.
Ideal for just such an occasion.
I exchanged some spirited banter with my mates assuring them their wolverine appetites would soon be quelled and went to the fridge to open the door.
Imagine the horror, the sickening horror of what greeted me.
“Where’s all my beer gone?,” I bellowed incredulously.
For there, where there should have been nestling a dozen or so of Mr Foster’s finest, a delicate frosty mist across their labels, was instead an array of covered dishes, flan plates, creamy overflowing bowls and gigantic plates of savouries.
“Where’s my bloody beer?” I croaked, with my heart sunk to my double-studded thongs.
“I didn’t have room for the trifles,” she said airily, “so I just put the beer over there on the sideboard shelf..it’s been in the fridge all night it should be cold enough by now shouldn’t it?”
I let out a primeval groan…”Woman, do you know what you’ve done????”
I was a broken man..I could hear my mates bellowing for their booze in the garden and I slunk out clutching what appeared to be the least warm of the bottles and muttering apologetically about “the missus making a mistake and you won’t believe this but she’s turfed my beer out of the fridge because of the bloody trifles…”
There were concerted groans all around.
It was a seminal moment in my life and a potential armageddon in the two decades-long relationship I’d happily shared with She Who Plumps My Pillow.
But now we faced a domestic crisis, the like of which could have rent asunder this previously adoring marital union.
Luckily my mates were not only a forgiving mob, but bloody wise to the ways of the world as well.
“Get yourself a beer fridge mate, a couple of hundred bucks at the Cash and Carry, bob’s yer uncle, you’ll be sweet, and yer beer’ll always be cold mate.”
It was advice I couldn’t have gained from a loftier spiritual source, His Holiness Himself could not have issued a more enlightened encyclical and it saved many more potential confrontations in our wonderful marriage, I guess.
The old Westinghouse 250L and I have shared many a happy hour since then…I don’t even mind having to defrost it every spring and suffer the inevitable frostbite as I chip away at those last remaining hunks of ice behind the freezer compartment and which stubbornly refuse to melt until suddenly crashing down when you’re least expecting it spraying your feet and nearby floors with nasty heavy solid extremely cold chunks.
The fridge has become more of a tabernacle these days, a temporal shrine with a colourful history of its own..I have adorned it over the years with photos of one of our much loved canine companions known as Boss, who used to flop down in the shade near me, panting heavily and listen to my philosophising about the world as I indulged myself with a frosted Crownie on a hot summer’s evening waiting for She Who Lightens My Life.
Boss and I spent many a happy hour around the ageing Westinghouse, I’m sad to say the machine has long outlived him, but he’s still there on the fridge door each time I go to open it and I give him a pat on the head and smile at the memories of his devoted companionship.
Occasionally Boss would stir himself from his late afternoon torpor and slump over to his drinking bowl casting me a querulous look. I’d add a slurp or two of the cold Crownie to his watery tipple and we’d both lap contentedly sharing the precious moment.
Now you can’t say memories like those are not worth an extra two hundred bucks on your dammed electricity bill can you?