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Yardsticks are old school, but I needed one

By Edward A. Forbes

The Bulletin

I tried to remember where I had put my yardstick and the last time that I had used it.

The yardstick was at one time a necessity in every home. It was even part of the culture. You even measured your life’s achievements by “the yardstick.” It was used in comparing persons or things.

But times have changed. How many of us have a yardstick in our home anymore? My quest for my yardstick had nothing to do with its original, intended purpose.

I wanted to see if I could slide it under my refrigerator to push out a bottle of medication that I had knocked out of a cabinet that resided next to the refrigerator.

I watched horrified as it bounced on the countertop, leapt into the small opening between countertop and refrigerator, and disappeared beneath the refrigerator.

This is not a major crisis, as I had just filled two weeks of medication in my daily dose pillboxes (another concession to age). The fridge is too big and heavy for me to move on my own, and I will have two weeks to get it out of this hiding place.

I realized at that moment that if I could push the bottle from beneath the fridge, I wouldn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of asking my children for assistance. This began the quest for the yardstick.

I couldn’t remember the last time I had used my yardstick, but I could envision two places I would have stored it awaiting its next assignment. I found it in the second location of course, in the pantry with a/c filters, paper towels, swifter dusters, brooms, wet-jet mop, and other assorted items.

Like many other well-conceived plans this didn’t work. The yardstick would only go a few inches beneath the fridge. I now had to toughen up and call for help. Post-Covid balance issues of over a year’s duration had caused me to be restricted from climbing ladders or even my two-step stool without one of my children being here to observe (my fall I assume).

I knew that to attempt a lift on the front of the fridge was within my abilities, but removing all the glass flower vases, canisters of flour, sugar, and other baking essentials) would require the stepstool to be utilized. I had to make a phone call to my son.

Me: “Hello son, how are you and how are things at work?”

My son then tells me how each of his five children are doing, how things are busy at work, and then: “How are you doing Dad?”

I then tell him the story of the errant bottle of medication, and he agrees to come over to help move all the items on top of and then the fridge itself. The good news is that he has two weeks to comply with my request. I find that fitting my sometimes-trivial needs into his schedule is daunting. His wife dealing with five youngsters will always require a team effort to manage many issues.

Sigh, I’ll just call him again in a few days.

Meanwhile, the medicine awaits rescue, and the yardstick awaits its next task.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)


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