My old cheese slicer is as good as new.
I don’t care what you say, they don’t make cheese slicers like they used to. My mother has a cheese slicer that works like a charm. She has had it all my life so it is… an experienced cheese slicer. It is small, it is easy to use, it cuts quickly and evenly. It does not result in fat or uneven cheese slices. My mother has used this cheese slicer for going on 50 years and it is far superior to anything that I see in stores today.
When my grandmother died, I ended up with her cheese slicer. I don’t recall a family feud over it, but I do feel fortunate because my grandmother’s cheese slicer is of the same vintage as my mother’s which means it works really well. I have treasured it both because it is so good and because it reminds me of my grandma.
Last month it broke.
The wire, which had presumably been doing the job for some 50 odd years, simply gave up the ghost and I was left with an inoperative cheese slicer. Naturally, I asked Daniel about fixing it. He took it away and that was the last I heard of it for a long time.
When he finally returned with the cheese slicer, I was thrilled. It had a new wire and worked as good as new. I sliced some cheese in celebration. Then he told me what he had done to get it back into service.
The first wire he tried was too stiff. The next was too fragile and broke. After that he found wire that worked, but was not sharp enough to cut cheese well. He had some other options that he ruled out either because they would rust or because he thought they might not be healthy to have in contact with cheese.
After four false tries and a lot of investigation, a friend suggested he might try guitar wire. Not all guitar wire would work, but together they found a wire that was strong, flexible, and sharp enough to withstand the rigors of cheese slicing. I was touched and delighted.
There are books and websites and advice columns about what we should look for in a romantic partner. This little cheese slicer says nearly everything I need to know about Daniel.
It says that he understands how important an old cheese slicer can be. It says he is patient. He is willing to work to solve a problem. It says he is inventive. It says that he shares my value of repairing rather than replacing the things I have, of making do with fewer things but things that really please me.
Not everyone would care about an old cheese slicer. (I imagine most people would care considerably less than me.) But knowing what is important to your partner and being able to demonstrate that understanding is precious. I’ve watched my own parents demonstrate this kind of understanding all my life. Fifty-two years later, they are still finding ways to surprise and delight one another.
Daniel and I went out to dinner recently with my family. Sitting next to father, Daniel told him that he had just spent considerable time rescuing a family heirloom.
“What was that?” my dad wanted to know. I told him it was grandma’s cheese slicer and how Daniel had finally gotten it to work with guitar wire.
My dad nodded for a moment before he said, “Yeah, I used piano wire to fix your mother’s.”
Till next time,
Carrie will perform an evening of selected columns called, “Solstice Sun” on Friday, June 22nd at 7:30 pm at Café Wren in Luck. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at Café Wren or any Inter-County Leader office. Subscribers to the Leader receive a $2 discount. Seating is limited.