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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Inch By Inch
By Marlene Bonney


“I can’t LIVE without my coffee,” a statement so common I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard it.

Granted, all of us have things we would feel lost without. Chocolate, a rabbit’s foot, soda pop, a lucky penny, a cell phone or computer, a television, the Bible. The list is endless.

My husband’s would be a measuring tape. In pocket, drawer, workshop, car or garage, this is his talisman. Most times, that proves to be a blessing; other times, because of the extra time involved, it is frustrating.

When we go on vacations, Wendell’s trusty measuring tape is used to compute the exact dimensions of available space versus the menagerie of perfectly square or rectangle boxes (he prefers discarded grocery store egg cartons), luggage, and whatever specialty items needed for each excursion.

When our family was young this included infant car seats, playpen and port-a-crib, diaper bags, toys, high chair, swing, and other odd-shaped and cumbersome items, a car-top carrier a necessity . . . Later, it became laptops, televisions, games, bicycles and skis stowed in between Barbie dolls, blow dryers, electric hair rollers and curling irons. Throw in multiple sleeping bags and a tent or two for good measure . . . Besides this, there were the children’s multiple moves with U-Hauls between college dorms and apartments and job placements in crowded locations with limited parking spaces.

Whatever the challenge, Wendell could be relied upon with his trusty Craftsman measuring tape to utilize every nook and cranny of accessible area. The male population of the family appreciated this; the females, not so much.

Now, we pack toolboxes to assist the grown children with their home improvement projects, Christmas presents and Easter baskets for the grandchildren and air bed mattresses for our sleeping arrangements during said visits.

Recently, we held a public sale for a deceased relative’s estate. Canopied yard space and inside makeshift tables fit just-so to display ninety years of accumulated possessions, commandeered by my husband with aforesaid dependable measuring tape. Also involved was the transport of a heavy cedar chest from a distant storage unit to the sale site via our average-sized car.

“I tell you, I’ve done the measurements—it WILL fit in the back seat,” my husband insisted.

Bets were placed by uncles and brothers, eyeing the space and the chest, certain of failure.

We drove away from that a little richer, and the relatives a little wiser, watching them scratch their heads in disbelief from our car’s rearview mirror.

Another time, a daughter’s wedding reception held in a small church fellowship room had to be prepared for 175 guests. Again, my husband came through, his measuring tape assuring exact proportions of the placement of six & eight-foot tables with accompanying chairs, all fitting in his measured, designated areas.

Our latest project occurred last Spring, when a lifetime dream of mine was fulfilled as a custom Amish-made twelve-foot octagon gazebo for our backyard was ordered. Exact construction measurements listed on the sales flyer gave Wendell all the information he needed to plot out the perfect location. Stakes and strings exactly placed and digging out six inches of sod for yards of stone to be delivered were the first steps. What I thought would be a do-able activity for two seniors, two shovels and a wheelbarrow turned into a feat beyond our physical capabilities so our 20-yr.-old nephew was elected. Unfortunately, in his youthful exuberance, he over-dug, evidenced by Wendell’s re-strung cords stretching across the plot, and we all had to refill another inch and spill it back into the plot. The expected yards of crushed stones now filled the prepared spot perfectly. The hoisted gazebo fit like a glove, the delivery men duly impressed with its perfect placement.

Even now, the measuring tape has not retired its usefulness, always at the ready for new jobs and projects and I expect as long as he draws breath, Wendell will take it with him wherever work is required.

Often, I view the marvels of God’s creation; how perfectly it all fits together in harmony of depth, color and positioning, and wonder at this ordered universe spoken into existence at God’s command--how He instantly and automatically knows exactly how many stars are in the sky and how many grains of sand there are and how many hairs are on my head. And how He instinctively knows the exact distance to place between each particle of His handiwork—no measuring tape required.

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This article has been read 361 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen01/17/13
I really enjoyed this read! Wise husband you have! Love how you gave the visual of your husband’s precision with his ever ready tape measure…and then the visual of God’s precision, no tape measure needed. Great job!
Laura Hawbaker01/18/13
Reminds me of my father-in-law. He always carried a tape measure and was always measuring things! The first two paragraphs don't seem to quite fit in with the rest of the article. Perhaps something like, "My husband never goes anywhere without his tape measure..." would have fit better with the rest of the story.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Hahaha. I enjoyed this entertaining and clever approach to the topic at hand. Nicely done. Thanks.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/23/13
I smiled as I read this. It took me back to my youth when I had to help Dad fill the truck with antiques to sell at the flea market. It amazed me how adept he was at packing. I learned from him, now my grown children will come to me and ask for help packing the impossible. I think for me that is the heart of this story. We learn from the previous generation and pass it to the next. God designed that in such a perfect way. I'm sure others will see different messages in your story, but have no doubt that whatever the message, you will touch many hearts.
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/13
That Wendell of yours is a true servant, because in many cases if you give people an inch, they'll want to 'rule!' You have packed many examples into the word limit. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations on ranking 8 in Masters and 11 overall!