End of An [Equipment] Era

Northstar Notes

Letting go of reliable machinery isn't easy to do.

Published on: December 30, 2013

As hokey as this sounds, I have feelings for machinery.

Maybe some farmers can relate. You've got this favorite, dependable, sentimentally-valued tractor or implement in your machinery shed. It's not efficient or fast anymore at all. Yet, you hang onto it because you share some history. It has been there for you through the seasons. It's been reliable. It's your go-to bud and you feel secure in how it operates. When it needs repairs, they are basic. Tweaks are done with what fits in your toolbox.

My sentimentality still lies with the Farmall 300 that I learned to drive. It sits in a shed back on my parents' place in Michigan, somewhat in disrepair, as my Dad was attempting to refurbish it before he died a few years ago.

Reliable. Our 1981 GE microwave still was in working condition when it was retired.
Reliable. Our 1981 GE microwave still was in working condition when it was 'retired.'

And with mixed feelings, yesterday I had to say "good-bye" to a piece of equipment geographically closer to me.

In fact, it has lived with me and my family for the past 32 years. It moved from Michigan, to Wisconsin, to Minnesota, as we traversed West, seeking new employment.

This implement resided inside our home. In the kitchen.

It was our dependable GE Countertop Microwave Oven, Model JET105.

My husband and I bought our microwave in 1981 with wedding money we received. We wanted to get a nice one so we went to the local appliance store in Cadillac, Michigan, and bought this model. It was big enough to hold a small turkey. Initially, we used it to occasionally cook or reheat foods. When we moved to Minnesota in 1984, our first rental home did not have an oven or a refrigerator. We had money to buy only one kitchen appliance and opted for the 'frig. Our microwave had heavy use for more than two years, working double-duty to cook and bake.

Then we moved to our current home and our microwave went back to light use. Warming baby bottles. Cooking hot cereal. Thawing, melting, softening foods. Steaming vegetables.

Fast-forward to 2013.

Our eldest daughter married in early August.

Our youngest daughter headed for college in late August.

Just the hubby and me now. Even lighter use for our ol' microwave.

Yet, my husband thought the oven wasn't cooking as hot as it once did. We had talked on and off about getting a new microwave for some time. In fact, our microwave usually was a topic of discussion when we had company come over. It was an artifact, an antique, in microwave years. Some questioned whether it was still safe to use.

It still worked, I explained. It wasn't ready yet for retirement.

Alas, hubby came home the other night with a new 1.6 cubic LG microwave oven.

It's big, too. Shiny. More efficient. And a bit trimmer than the old one.

Sigh.

I unplugged the old oven and out the door she went, soon to be recycled, if any parts were worthy.

Good-bye, faithful servant! Your dependability (I assume) will not be repeated!