Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dumpster days

My oldest daughter started college, and it took her younger sister all of one week to move into the room she left behind. Between the two rooms and the attic, we now have some 30 bags full of once treasured items that have now been declared trash.

It’s Sunday, and our garbage pick up isn’t until Thurs. To use the county landfill, we’ll need to purchase special bags. I miss the dump. Growing up, I lived just down the street from one. It was the source of all my bicycles, and the vast majority of my dogs. I wasn’t always crazy about the bikes, but I loved each unwanted mutt that wandered down the street into my welcome arms.

My neighbors, despite always driving the latest sports cars, weren’t below “shopping” the dump like it was the mall. In fact, they decorated most of their split-level house courtesy of finds from their dumpster dives. Apparently recycling companies paid a pretty penny for aluminum during the 70’s, because I can remember seeing Mr. Dwayne, grinning, knee-deep in that stinky trash heap, holding up a can like it was a prize from a Cracker Jack box.

At my house, the dump was also a good discipline tool. Once I got a skate board against my dad’s wishes. He hated the thing and told me right upfront that the minute I got hurt, we were taking it to the dump. Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting in the truck beside him, tears streaming down my face from my sore head, where I had fallen, and my sore pride from having to heave my new toy into the sump hole, as my dad sometimes called it.

Shortly after I went to college and moved out, the county declared the dump too close to human habitat. By the time I came home to visit, it had been relocated. Good riddance, we all said. Nothing but old, rusty bikes and smelly stray dogs. Who knew I would grow up to miss it?

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