Posted tagged ‘garbage man’

“On Sunday mornings, as the dawn burned into day, swarms of gulls descended on the uncollected trash, hovering and dropping in the cold clear light.”

April 22, 2014

The morning was sunny but has since begun to get cloudy. Gracie was on the deck earlier when I heard her critter alert bark. I went out and she was trying to get at something hiding behind the deck box. I looked and nothing was there. The mighty watch dog had missed the critter leaving from the other end.

Yesterday was a wonderfully quiet day. I went back and forth between watching baseball and the marathon then read all afternoon. I brushed my teeth and combed my hair, but I didn’t get dressed, and I didn’t make my bed. Today, however, my dance card has a few entries, mostly errands, but I’m also having lunch with a friend, Thai food, one of my favorites. I’m even going to change my bed. I feel like a whirlwind of activity.

When I was a kid, I never had set chores. My brother had to empty the basket into the barrel, and he always complained about being put upon. Sometimes, though, I had to empty the inside garbage outside. My mother had a plastic triangular garbage holder with holes in the bottom. Its shape fit perfectly in the corner of the sink. When it was full, one of us took it outside to the garbage pail. The pail was in the ground and you used a pedal to open the lid. I remember all the maggots crawling on the garbage, but I was too young to be horrified by maggots. I was mostly fascinated. The garbage man came once a week and would haul out the pail and empty it into the big barrel he carried. I thought that was the grossest of all jobs until I met the night soil man in Ghana who emptied the outhouse pails. Now that was and still is to me the grossest job of all.

Almost none of the workers who came to the house had names. They were always men and each was defined by his job. We had the garbage man, the trash man, the mailman, the milk man, the newspaper man, the junkman and the scissors-knife sharpener man who rode his bicycle on the street and rang a bell to announce his arrival. The only name we knew was Johnny, the ice cream man. We never thought it strange that we didn’t know the names of the men who came so often to our house.

Now I know the names of the people who come to my house. There are far fewer than when I was a kid. Bob is my mailman, Lori is my newspaper deliverer and Sebastian is my landscaper. The milk now comes from the store and my knives and scissors need sharpening. I am the trash and garbage man who goes once a week to the dump. I haven’t seen a maggot in years.

“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.”

July 8, 2011

Today is a favorite sort of days. Earlier, I was awakened by the sound of a torrential rain storm. The rain came straight down and pounded the deck and umbrellas. That was the sound I heard: rain hitting the umbrellas, almost as good as rain on a tin roof. The rain stopped quickly giving me enough time to run for the papers. In a bit after that, it started again but far more gently. The day is dark, and I have turned on a light. Sitting in my house surrounded by rain with a single light brightening the room gives me a cozy feeling, a feeling of being safe and warm and dry. Those feelings coupled with the wonderful sounds of rain are why this sort of day is a favorite.

Yesterday a giant crow used my deck as a perch. I heard him first and looked out the window to investigate the sounds I was hearing. He was strutting up and down and stopping occasionally to caw. I think it’s the same crow who visits often. He never eats from the feeders but just sits on a branch near the deck making noise or preening his feathers. I think he’s beautiful. I also think he’s huge.

As a kid, I don’t remember ever watching birds, except seagulls. Flowers and gardens went unnoticed, but the garbage truck got a great deal of attention as did the garbage man. The rag man too was a favorite with his horse and wagon. Back then, my world was filled with people who did the neatest things and roamed the neighborhoods offering their services. The sharpening knives and scissors man rode a bicycle and shouted as he pedaled through. My mother sometimes sent me with her knives. The milk man came every other day, and I could hear the clinking of the bottles and the sound of his truck left running as he went from neighbor to neighbor. The trash truck came once a week, and my dad dragged his barrels to the sidewalk before he left for work. The ice cream man came about the same time every afternoon. He had a bell, a sound we all recognized as belonging to Johnny and his truck. The paperboy threw our paper against the front door usually about an hour before school. He came around himself to collect for the paper every week. We knew the mailman. He was on our route for years. Around my birthday, I’d sit on the steps and wait for him to come hoping he was bringing cards with a bit of cash inside.

I have a newspaper person who delivers before I’m awake. I’ve never seen her even though she’s delivered my papers for years. Bill is my mailman, and he waves from his truck as he leaves the mail in the box across the street. If I have a package, he’ll walk it over to my house. My landscaper lives next door.

My childhood was wonderfully filled with the most interesting people who were pieces in the fabric of my life. Some came every day, some less often, but I knew them. They were like friends in an odd sort of way. Now I only have two I know and one I don’t. It makes my world emptier and far less interesting.


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