The Cheese Grater

I’ve had this blog for over a week now, and I’ve only written one post. Yes, The Catholic Radical Unschool Cheese story is floating alone in a sea of white space. And I’m thinking, I’d better write something quickly. If I don’t, everyone will begin to think this is a one post blog. They’ll expect it to float away and never be seen again.

I don’t want The Catholic Radical Unschool Cheese to disappear. So I’m sitting here, nibbling on a bit of cheese, trying to think of something to write about.

Some people seem to have no problem writing posts. They plonk themselves down in front of the computer, lift their fingers and start typing. And a post appears. I wonder how they do that. I mean, it’s easy to type, but how do they get their fingers to form interesting words that everyone wants to read? Where do their ideas come from?

Occasionally, I do have writing ideas. Out-of-the-ordinary things happen which make great stories. Do you remember, a couple of years ago, how I discovered a dead body while running through the bush? As soon as I’d returned home, peeled off my exercise gear, showered and had breakfast, I ran to my computer. I couldn’t wait to share my odorous story with everyone. My fingers bounced eagerly up and down on the keys. Words appeared. Fairly good ones too. Well, they made me giggle even though dead bodies are no laughing matter.

But it’s been a very long time since I last stumbled across any victims of crime. Nothing exciting has happened to me for months. What am I going to do? What if nothing exciting happens to me ever again? What will I write about?

Cheese. I could tell you a story about cheese. Or maybe a cheese grater.

A blackened cheese grater hangs from a butcher’s hook above our kitchen bench. It’s one of those cylindrical ones with a handle at the top. My mother gave it to me when I left home to go to university. (I was 19 at the time.) She gave me other things too, things she thought might come in handy as I was setting up a home of my own. I was going to live in a pink-walled room above the newsagent’s shop on the corner of Great Darkgate Street in the seaside town of Aberystwyth. (That’s in Wales.)

As a university student, I grated lots of cheese. I grated a fair bit of finger skin too.

After three years, when I’d completed my degree, I left Aberystwyth. I took my grater and travelled with Andy, in his old brown car, across Wales to England where we got married. Two weeks after our wedding, we boarded a plane for Sydney. I returned to Australia. Andy travelled halfway around the world for the very first time. So did my grater. It didn’t come with us on the plane. It travelled the slow way by sea.

Not so long ago, I was decluttering our house. “We don’t need this cheese grater,” I said as I tossed it into a box bound for Vinnies.

“Oh yes, we do!” said one of my daughters as she reclaimed the grater. “It’s a family heirloom.”

Some families have silver trays or Wedgewood china or antique furniture or crown jewels as their heirlooms. We have a cheese grater. At least we don’t need to insure our treasure, keep it under lock and key. Our family heirloom hangs on its butcher’s hook for everyone to see. In the photo, it’s hanging above Andy’s head.

My story isn’t radical or Catholic or unschooling or even very interesting. But at least it was a story about cheese. And, more importantly, my very first post is no longer alone in a sea of white space.

So I’m wondering if you have an unusual family heirloom. Do you ever wonder what to write about? And have you ever been to Wales?

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