Just the other day, I had a minor catastrophe in my kitchen, and I practically shed a tear. Really. It was unbelievably silly: My beloved kitchen tongs broke. Really??? Just like that old sweater one can't bear to throw away, we have a few such vestiges from Cowabunga in our household that we still can't live without. One of my dearest, trusty items is an unlikely pair of plain old, gadget-store, low-grade stainless steel kitchen tongs. Nothing fancy. Yet, these tongs can tell a tale. In the over 30-odd years that I have had them, they served me well during our 10 years on Cowabunga, and the many years since, here on land.
I bought them in some nondescript Ace Hardware-type general store in France, even before Brendan was born, I believe, so yes, they must be over 30 years old. During our life on the boat, they succumbed at one point to one-too-many saltwater dishwashings, and the main hinge screw rusted out one day. Being somewhere in the middle of nowhere at the time, it was not an option to go out and buy a new pair, and I needed this kitchen tool—constantly! So, Michel, handy that he is, was able to scrounge up a stainless steel screw from his onboard tool, treasure chest, and replace it, and they have lived on to see many another day, and many cooking adventures on into this 21st Century—a good 25 years or so since we disembarked. And now, here they were, these same heroic tongs on my countertop, broken. No, I can't, I could not cook without them! The main spring had sprung for the last time. I couldn't believe it. I was practically heartbroken. They survived for so long; it's not now they were going to give up the ghost! Both Michel and I looked at each other: The end of an era? All that history up in smoke, poof, just like that? This was silly. So emotional for a pair of cheap, and I really mean cheap, kitchen tongs!
No, this story wasn't going to end like this. We shall overcome, and Michel was determined that these tongs could, and would, live to see another day! So, off he went on a quest to find a replacement spring. He came back empty handed. Then I remembered that I seen some cheap-type, similar looking tongs at our own local Ace Hardware in the kitchen-gadget department. Lo and behold, there was an almost identical pair, but I was only interested in getting the inside spring—the guts. Nevertheless, I purchased it, brought it back to my handy hubby, and he promptly cannibalized it, repairing our trusty old pair with the exact same spring, and eureka, it lives anew! If we can get another 30 years out of it, I’m quite sure it will outlive us, and my family can be sure that some lucky soul will be inheriting this storied item in my will.