The Haunted Saucepan – Robert G. Wertzler

Clearly, that saucepan has to be haunted. Nothing I tried to cook in it turned out right. Sometimes it burned, or came out under cooked, or just somehow wrong. Put it on a low flame and in minutes the food was charcoal. On a high flame it could refuse to boil. So, I tried to throw it away.

Do you know that old song, “The Cat Came Back” [The Cat Came Back – Harry S. Miller (adapted by Cisco Houston]? The chorus goes:

“But the cat came back, the very next day,

Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back

`Cause he wouldn’t stay away”

It is like that cat. I put it in the trash and the garbage truck took it to the dump. The next morning, there it was on the stove. Put it in the scrap metal bin at the recycling center, same thing. Donate it to Goodwill? (I know, a cruel thing to do, but I was desperate.) It was back the next morning. If I had a worst enemy, I’d gift wrap it and send it by UPS, but I know what would happen. If I knew a blacksmith, I’d have him melt it down, but I bet even that wouldn’t help. So, there it sits, daring me to try to cook something in it, tempting me, challenging me, yes, haunting me. Maybe I should move away and leave it here. I’m afraid it would follow me.


Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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