Her family was not impressed with gadget’s cleverness [I Know a Story column] | Together

I’d like to say I’m an observant person, but evidently the declaration doesn’t make it true. I’ll explain.

We’ve had the same hand-held can opener in the house for as long as I can remember. Now, in my defense, it’s not used too often. I’ll open tuna once in a while, maybe crushed tomatoes for a batch of enchiladas or sweetened condensed milk when it’s time for Christmas cookies.

We don’t use canned goods too terribly often, and I suppose bottles are a close second.

When there is a need to pop the top of a bottle, we use the upper portion of our corkscrew. It’s never failed, and as far as I knew, it was the only bottle opener in the house (except for the one hanging on Will’s key chain, always prepared to be called into action should you need to open a beer away from home).

Well, yesterday, while washing said can opener, I noticed something. The side of it is a bottle opener! Who knew? All you have to do is tilt it away from you in the opposite the direction you would use to open a can. Viola! There it was, all these years, hiding in plain sight.

Go figure. A revelation to be sure.

For the remainder of the day, after my monumental discovery, each time someone walked into the kitchen I shared the news.

“Look! Our bottle opener is also a can opener!” Come … share my astonishment!

Their responses were less jubilant:

“Ugh. Great, Mom.”


“Oh? Well, that’s interesting.”

And our youngest, John, just stared at me. I can only guess he was overwhelmed and rendered unable to speak.

No one shared my enthusiasm. It’s not that I was so excited to have unfettered access to an additional can opener, but rather surprised we all missed something so obvious and right under our noses.

It makes me wonder what else we are missing, and how we fail to see what is in front of us only because it’s familiar.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll give the toaster oven a closer look!

The author lives in Strasburg. This story was written last fall.

If you know an interesting story, please write it in 600 words or less and send it to Mary Ellen Wright, LNP editorial department, P.O. Box 1328, Lancaster, PA, 17608-1328, email it to [email protected]. Please include your phone number and the name of the town you live in.

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