The Little Man in the Refrigerator

CandleToday I thought about how people we interact with–sometimes only occasionally, sometimes more often–can change our lives in subtle, beautiful ways.

A specific person/incident came to mind that I thought to share.

Many, many, years ago, shortly after we were married, my husband and I made the acquaintance of a wonderful elderly man. His wife had died, his only child lived out-of-town, he didn’t have a car and didn’t go many places other than church and the grocery store. So his days were largely spent alone in the 2nd floor apartment which had been home to he and his wife for many years prior to her death.

He was a stamp collector, as was my husband at the time–which is how we met him. We frequently visited with him. He enjoyed the company and we enjoyed many hours of wonderful conversation and the knowledge, which he had collected over his long life, that he shared with us.

The discussion one evening included how living with another person frequently resulted in one of the people not being able to find something because it wasn’t put back ‘where it belonged’. Knowing we were recently married, he leaned over close to me and said, “Do you know, my wife and I never argued or got angry about things like that. Whenever something couldn’t be found we blamed it on the ‘Little Man in the Refrigerator’ who moves things around, and then both of us would happily search for the missing item without any recriminations or bad feelings.”

Although, to my embarrassment, I cannot remember the gentleman’s name, I can remember what he looked like sitting in his padded rocking chair in the corner, bookcases floor-to-ceiling behind him, soft lamplight illuminating the room, the smile he always wore–and his ‘Little Man in the Refrigerator’. 

That ‘Little Man in the Refrigerator’ has been in my life ever since and still resides in my home. Such a small thing has stopped many a marital discussion (read argument) from starting, and harsh words from being spoken to my children.

Amazingly, even when there is no refrigerator anywhere around, that same little guy gets blamed for missing items–instead of any humans.

The light of wisdom burns in many places and should be preserved – that elderly gentleman’s wisdom lives on.

What about you? Have you had such an experience?

 Addendum: I remembered his name. Go me! 🙂