I only needed a boost—just a little. But most of the time, it’s enough.
The tiny ladder came to me by happenstance, luck, more or less. I’ll take some credit for the find, but only because I watch the ditches and wood lines while I drive.
Way down in the grass on Route 202, a summer’s day, probably around 1990, maybe ’91—there it was. It could have flown off the top of a van. More than likely, though, it fell out of an open tailgate of a pickup truck.
The first time I saw it, I kept driving. I had someplace to be, as I recall. The second time, on the way home, I spotted it again. Still, I kept driving. I looked for it, but it appeared so small, I believed it must be broken, the remains of what once certainly had been a very lovely wooden stepladder.
Two or three days later, I ran by the ladder. Yes, I used to run every day. Like I said, it was a long time ago. I’d passed by enough. It was time.
I slowed my snail’s pace to check it out. It wasn’t bent or broken. The ladder was tiny, just as the fine folks at the Werner ladder company had intended. I stood it up to its full height. If someone lost it, they probably drove by every day. I wanted to take it home, but it was about two miles from the house. Running down the roadside, sweaty, carrying a miniature ladder didn’t appeal to me. It was a handy size; cute, almost.
During a Werner meeting, someone probably said, “All ladders don’t have to be tall; there are those times that you merely need a boost.”
I picture those around the elongated wooden table—maybe during the monthly new product gatherings— agreeing. Looking right and left, most nodded in agreement. It makes sense. The boss steepled his hands together, maybe tapping his top lip as he looked pensive for a minute. Finally, he looked up and said, “Let’s make one. Joe, you’re in charge of the design. Bill, you get this into production. Let’s get some lunch.”
A few days later, I drove slowly toward the ladder. Sure to be out of the traffic flow, I kept to the far right on the gravel-strewn shoulder. I saw it, barely standing above the late summer grass. I picked up the ladder, feeling I had done due diligence, leaving enough time between the finders and the keepers. I took it home.
It wasn’t long after that when my home ownership mentor, Dan, aided me in putting in a couple of outlets. We didn’t need the ladder; we were both on our knees. Dan showed me how to do almost everything that needed doing to an old house. Plumbing, wiring, basement concrete repairs; the list is endless. Sometimes, a fellow needs a boost.
Shortly after that, the miniature ladder debuted in the 1860s cape. I put a light kit on a ceiling fan. Low ceilings made a tall ladder unnecessary; I’m glad I had it.
When we moved to a newer house with similar issues, the ladder was perfect for all sorts of boosting needs. It’s a bit rickety but holds well over the designated weight limit. I can attest to that. I’ve even defied the maximum height limitations. Yup, I’ve had to stand on the top step. It’s a no-no. The folks at Werner were specific. It’s all there, clearly printed on the label.
We lost an outside motion light during the recent prolonged power outage. I have no idea how it affected the motion sensor, but it no longer sensed motion. The light came on only if I flicked the indoor switch thirty or forty times. Even then, it would only stay on for a moment.
I picked up a new light and installed it yesterday in light rain. I looked around for a kitchen stool used to get into the cupboards, but I must have misplaced it last time I reached for the extra cans of Cambell’s Tomato Soup—I was on a toasted cheese kick for a couple of days.
I shuffled to the cellar to grab my trusty miniature ladder. One foot, ten inches, was all that was required. The wiring was simple. My instructor is long gone from this earth. He’s a guy I think about almost monthly when I fix something without needing to call someone else.
I will take credit for being observant because that was necessary for my trade—the ladder was fair game. I learned almost everything else from someone else.
Often, you only need a boost—just a little. Most of the time, it’s enough.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s weekend.
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