My Personal Twilight Zone

by C. M. Albrecht

I think maybe I’m living in a Twilight Zone, or perhaps it just happens that in my house there’s a little tear in the curtain that separates my world from a parallel world that co-exists right where I stand.

I say this because to think otherwise might push me into the realm of ghosts and I don’t want to believe in ghosts. Why in the world would a ghost want to hang around here? Didn’t the former living person have enough trouble to contend with during his/her lifetime here? Sure, life has its moments, but it has plenty of bad moments and from all I’ve ever heard about people who have come back from near-death experiences, they didn’t want to come back. Whatever they thought they saw ahead was so much better that they practically forgot all about their former life in their eagerness to move on to the next level.

It’s not big things. I’ve never seen anyone being yanked out of my world or suddenly being thrust into it. It’s the subtle little things that keep you wondering whether you’re losing your mind, whether your mind’s playing tricks on you, or worse still, someone is playing tricks on you.

I normally have two long steel tongs I keep with kitchen spoons in a crock beside the range. One tong is quite old. I’ve had it for ages. Recently it disappeared. I looked and looked for it. I finally came to the dismal conclusion that it must have fallen into the wastebasket that stands near the range.

By now, that incident had nearly been forgotten, but yesterday I looked up on the hook where I keep strainers. I have several, but one in particular has a very fine mesh. I like to use it when straining broths that have fine herbs or seeds that might slip through.

To my amazement, the strainer was not there. I always keep it there. Well, accidents happen. I looked in cupboards, on shelves; in short I shook down the entire kitchen and no strainer.

I had to make myself a cup of coffee and go sit down for a while to recover from the disappointment at having lost my strainer.

After twenty minutes I came back into the kitchen prepared to go to plan B in the strainer business, but when I turned to look at the kitchen range…are you ready?

Yes. There in the crock by my range stood not one but two tongs. The old one that had been missing for a month was right there, shiny and clean and just waiting for me to spring into action.

That discovery was more traumatic than losing the strainer. And that gave pause for thought. In a Twilight Zone there may well be beings who like to ‘borrow’ things and then return the borrowed item in exchange for borrowing another.

We frequently get a loaf of fresh French bread for dinner and I save the leftover portion for stuffing. Recently I saved my first third loaf of this year. In the pantry I have a box for things like that. I placed the partial loaf there, waiting until I got some more bread and wanted to make a stuffing for chicken or pork chops.

The day before I had a good half of another loaf, so today I thought I’d tear both loaves into little pieces so they might dry better with the cheerful thought of having chicken with stuffing tomorrow (Sunday).

You guessed it. The piece of loaf in the box is not there. Believe me, nobody around this house is about to eat a piece of stale bread, especially when there is plenty of fresh bread on hand. Mice? I’ve never seen signs of one around the house.

Nobody I know would sneak in here and dig around in the pantry for a partial loaf of dry bread to steal. But a being from the Twilight Zone…ah, who knows what they might do? Maybe they just love stale bread. Maybe they intend to soak it and squeeze it through the strainer that’s missing. Maybe they use the strained bread to make bread paper. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but maybe that’s possible. Maybe I could get my next book printed on recycled bread.

This living in the Twilight Zone isn’t pretty, but sometimes there’s an upside to it. Once, with exactly one five dollar bill in my pocket, I felt drawn to a Salvation Army Santa. I placed the fiver in his pot and went on my way feeling quite noble although I really couldn’t spare the money.

Now this is where the good part of living in the Twilight Zone comes in. Before I got back home, I crossed the street and, just as I was about to step up onto the sidewalk, I glanced down, and there, lo and behold, lay a five dollar bill. “Cast your bread upon the waters…”

In all honesty, although I was really taken aback, I didn’t jump up and down and cry, “Thank you, Jesus!” but I did marvel at the vagaries of fate.

I know what you’re thinking: this guy likes to cook with wine.  Not really and not often. I’ll admit that maybe it’s all my imagination. Coincidence. Roll of the dice. Go ahead, say what you like, but nobody’s going to convince me I don’t live in a Twilight Zone.

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