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Simple is so much better than the alternatives

Simple is one of my favorite words. It is descriptive, to the point, and when I hear it used to describe something, I know I can probably understand what it is all about. I’m just not real savvy when it comes to appliances, office equipment, and sundry other things that have a switch. 

Such thoughts bring to mind the year I got a coffee maker for Christmas that I had been yearning for. Paul Harvey advertised the coffee maker on his radio show. He said it would make 10 cups of coffee in two minutes. That sounded great to me. Finally, 20 years ago, Santa listened, and I got that fantastic coffee maker. After I opened it, Ruble put it in place on our kitchen counter. Later, I gave my new appliance a good looking over. I planned to make coffee the next morning. 

It was during that looking over that I noticed Ruble had left a switch on. It was unlike him to make such a mistake but even the best of us slip up from time to time. Without fanfare and without pointing out his mistake, I turned the switch off and went to bed. The next morning, I put in the coffee, poured in the water, and marveled as the dark brew immediately began pouring into the glass pot. Two minutes later, I poured myself a cup coffee. It was cold as ice! I could not imagine why. I checked the switches, and all were turned to the right position. 

I was still in a state of amazement and sipping my cold coffee when Ruble came in the kitchen ready for a cup of (hot) coffee. Before I could say anything, he had poured himself a cup of his favorite brew from the new pot and taken a sip. He frowned and emphatically stated the new coffee maker would be returned that very day. He was upset that my new coffee maker provided us with cold coffee rather than hot.

It was then that I casually mentioned I discovered the night before that he had left a switch on and I had turned it off. I pointed out that I did not say, “Just look what you did!” I simply turned the switch off. I also added that the new coffee maker probably burned itself out before I discovered the switch had been left on and corrected his mistake. Ruble looked at me exactly the way he did the day I showered the kitchen with cabbage because I didn’t think it was necessary to put the cover on my new food processor. “Darling,” he said (he used a term of endearment, but he was laughing, and it seemed to me his voice had a slightly superior tone). “That switch is supposed to be on all the time!” Then he explained how hot water is stored in a tank on the side and for it to be kept hot the switch must be on . . . and so on . . . and so forth . . . and thus and such . . . . None of that explanation meant a thing to me. He turned the switch on, and I never touched it again.

That complicated coffee pot served us well for nearly two decades, mostly because I left it alone. Last year it had to be replaced. One can’t complain about 19 years of service. Since Ruble is not here anymore to guide me when it comes to operating things that have switches, I bought a new, less expensive coffee pot that is easy to operate. It takes longer for the coffee to brew but there are no extra switches. It always gives me hot coffee and it is simple to operate. And as I said, “simple” is my favorite word.

LaVale Mills is Publisher Emeritus of The Red Bay News.

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