THE KITCHEN – Here is a photo of two nice young people who are getting married. “Please save the date” it says, then gives the date and town and adds, “Invitation to follow.” With a nod toward tradition, the couple is composed of one of each sex. But showing a new way in the modern world, the message gives a Web site which I can visit to buy a wedding present. This is the perfect announcement. It is guest-friendly because it tells me all I want to know right now – I can jot down the date on my calendar and worry about the composition of the reception bar later. I don’t have to slog to an appointed store and go through the gift list to see if the couple already has been given a lemon peeler or a bottle of Jet-Dry (I don’t know them that well). Big deal, you say. We have all been sent notices to stand by because another notice will follow. After the wedding a few brides have even sent Dear Occupant notes to gift-givers announcing that a somewhat more personal thank-you note will follow. The nice point about this particular advance notice is that it is – get this – on a magnet. You know, one of those small magnets that you can stick on the refrigerator. I see this pre-announcement announcement every time I go for a beer, or maybe a slice of cheese, or cold lobster with champagne. Here is a brief run-down of my collection on the side of my KitchenAid so that we can compare notes: A small magnet from a doctor which sports his name, phone numbers for his office, weekend retreat and country club. Another one from a doctor – little magnets must be as popular with the AMA as free golf trips from pharmaceutical companies. Two are from restaurants. A good idea since I may want to order out once the lobster and champagne run out. Here is a round one that looks like a political lapel pin. “Oh, Well, I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway.” That Cheney was always such a kidder. Several magnets don’t say anything but are designed to hold pieces of paper such as coupons. I get 20 percent off at a store that went bankrupt and closed last summer. It probably spent too much money on magnets. Another store promises half price on any present purchased before last Christmas. What’s this large clip holding? Oh, the Declaration of Independence. I keep meaning to return it, but you know how one can get behind. This is a magnet in the shape of a clothes pin. It holds a note from my offspring: “Dad, what’s a clothes pin?” Maybe I should reply, “It’s stuck on the ice box.” Some magnets hold notes to myself: “Renew subscription to Saturday Evening Post.” “Vote to end Prohibition.” And: “Clean out coal bin.” Here are two tickets to the Mike Huckabee inaugural gala. This refrigerator side probably needs a careful update. Don’t laugh. Take a look at your own refrigerator’s exterior. You’ve got a wedding announcement. It’s a good thing you never sent the happy couple a present since they’re already divorced. You probably have coupons that expired in ’03 and yellowed newspaper clippings telling of precautions for Y2K. I think you can take them off. Most of us have a lot of these little magnets, but there is another decoration here: magnetized, clear envelopes for photographs, thus allowing us to plaster our refrigerators with 4 X 6 color shots of friends, neighbors, dogs, car wrecks and Miss January, depending on our tastes. By far, the most common photographs are of children and grandchildren. Row upon row of faces. It looks like a museum exhibit of Pol Pot victims. But there’s more, Mister or Missus TV Viewer! Order now and you can have one of these metal panels. Yes, if those 375 photographs of your kids and your governor’s pardon are not enough for your kitchen, there are now big square metal panels which mount on walls. Then little round magnets are used to hold up even more pictures. We also have children’s artwork. That must be a horse or a locomotive, it’s hard to say. (Incidentally, do you notice that children and grandchildren never stick on their bedroom walls or bulletin boards pictures drawn by their parents and grandparents?) Despite our efforts, we cannot get magnets to stick to the mixer or the oven, but if Cuisinart or Jenn-Air ever come with magnetized kitchen implements, they’ll sell them to every grandmother in America. Until then, double-stick tape will have to suffice. At this point, those among us with ADD are wandering off while wondering, “Is this so important when we’ve got other and more serious matters to discuss?” Yes, the Gosselins of Jon & Kate Plus 8 are separating, which has left America dumbstruck, and the top 10 American Idol finalists are going on a nationwide tour. These matters warrant our close attention, too, but we can walk and chew gum. It’s called multi-tasking in biz world jargon. Just remember what Benjamin Franklin almost wrote, “A society that ignores thee order of thine kitchen magnets will soone have smelly aire, a wretched forn police, a government debt and loss of personal freedoms. Oh, well, I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway.” When I was a small tad we had a piano in our house, but, although Mom had bought the instrument for her children to learn how to play, and even though we all took lessons, none of us ever mastered the piano or wanted to. So when my mother announced that the piano had to go, my sister was distressed at losing our major connection to the arts. “But where will we put the car keys?” Many of us, when told the refrigerator is being tossed, would wail, “But where will we put the tickets to the Mike Huckabee inaugural gala?” Ashby is magnetized at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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