#234–Happiness is toilet paper . . .

A few years ago, I did a blog post on Happiness is and described some of my favorite things that make me happy. Well, right now there is one thing that would really make me happy—seeing toilet paper on the grocery store shelves.

For a few weeks, this has been what the toilet paper shelves look like in nearly every store.

For the past two weeks, the order has been to stay home except for necessary trips like for groceries, doctor appointments, gas for the car and that’s about it. So it doesn’t make sense that I, and many others, need to go from store to store in a mad search just to find toilet paper. It makes it very hard to comply with the Governor’s order.

This was a sketch that my dad made of the homestead he grew up on in Montana.

When I was young, we would visit my dad’s family on their old homestead in Montana in the late 1940s and early ‘50s and they had an outhouse with a Sears catalog that they used for toilet paper. I checked out my catalogs. With their slick, glossy pages, they just won’t do. Yuck! But a phone book with thinner, non-glossy pages––hmm, maybe. I have a couple of old, out-of-date ones that I’ll keep on hand just in case.

A few weeks ago, when I started hearing about the run on toilet paper, I actually laughed. I was glad that I had a few extra rolls in the house and an extra package of at least eight in one of the cabinets in the garage along with extra paper towels. I always keep extra packages of both.

Or so I thought. About two weeks ago I went out to the garage to bring in some rolls because I discovered that I actually had only two extra rolls in the house, and I needed to use one of them.

What I found in the garage were two large packages of paper towels––NO TOILET PAPER. What! I don’t think I’ve ever been so nearly out of toilet paper. And at this particular moment. Really! I couldn’t believe it.

This was all I had when I discovered that there was none in town.

I went to Fred Meyer, Bi-Mart, Grocery Outlet, Safeway, and even TrueValue, and no toilet paper anywhere. I did pick up some extra boxes of tissues. Then they started running out of those.

Before long, my last roll was in use. I continued my search whenever I had to go out for any reason. Then my next to last roll ran out, and I brought in the box of tissues. In the other bathroom, my last roll was about three-fourths gone.

And still no toilet paper in the stores.  Nada! Nothing! Zilch! I knew I had the tissues as a back up and the phone books as a last resort. But still anxiety was beginning to set in, and I was harboring really bad feelings about hoarders.

Before long, this was all that was left in one bathroom and the other had only about 1/4 of a roll left.

Then . . .

Last week, I found out that between 7 and 8 a.m. Fred Meyer is open only to seniors. (I don’t think I know any seniors that like to go anywhere before 10 a.m., but still the special hours is a good idea.)

So the next morning, March 19, I was at Freddies just after 7 a.m. and headed straight to aisle eight and lo-and-behold, miracle-of-miracles there was toilet paper on the shelves. There were some (not a lot) 12-roll packages of Northern toilet paper. It was only one brand, one size, and limited to one package per customer. And soon the shelves would be empty again.

At first, I thought I was seeing things. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I actually took my hand and traced over the letters T-O-I-L-E-T  P-A-P-E-R. In the past couple weeks when I grabbed a package in the toilet paper section, it was paper towels just pretending.

I grabbed a package and put it in my cart and, of course, I wasn’t the only one. I couldn’t believe how excited, relieved, and just plain happy this made me feel. I only had one item on my list, but I found a couple other things since I was there. I pushed my cart around with a big smile on my face. On March 19, happiness was toilet paper!

A truly wonderful sight!

And I’m not the only one. I received an email just a few days ago from my friend Theresa Baer who now lives in the LA area. She also had visions of running out of toilet paper and had made numerous unsuccessful trips in her attempts to find some. She and her mom were not in danger of running out imminently like I was. Nevertheless, she was thrilled when her neighbor brought over six rolls of toilet paper a few days ago, “It was better than Christmas!”

The moral of the story: If you want to make someone happy, give them a few rolls of toilet paper. . . . Hear that––all you hoarders out there!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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3 Responses to #234–Happiness is toilet paper . . .

  1. Phyllis Bright says:

    Love it!

  2. I think our generation had a lot more common sense than the latest ones!

  3. Sue Martino says:


    Your Mont. family home looks like Aunt Nola Mae’s farm in Okla. She would store fresh canned food in the cellar and used it during tornado possibilities. Yes, we used the outhouse & catalog. Recently my sister & I were discussing those days and how we knew how to solve the toilet paper situation, by putting a trash can and stack of papers next to our toilet. 😲 Right now unfortunately, people are flushing hand wipes, etc. down the toilet & causing sewer back-up problems.


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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