Posted tagged ‘the dump’

“Longevity-and sanity. Eccentric old ladies on Harleys I can deal with.”

February 20, 2015


Today is sunny but freezing. Enough said!

Yesterday was a medal worthy day, a gold achievement medal on a tricolored ribbon. I did all four errands including the dump which was as deserted as I’ve ever seen it. Two workers were there and two cars counting mine. Both guys emptied my trunk for me, one at the paper recycle bin and the other at trash. At our next stop, Gracie, in her lovely Pendleton coat, came with me into Agway. Few people were there. Next we hit the grocery store for cream and coffee, my life’s blood, then I drove to Dennisport and Buckies for my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie. Alas and alack there were no whoopies, but I did buy a day old cupcake with a mountain of frosting. Luckily my disappointment was salved by that chocolate cupcake.

The mayor of Boston has tried to put the kibosh on the newest trend: diving from windows into the snow. The divers are even wearing bathing suits.

Okay, I don’t often get political here, but I think in this instance I’m safe. Jeb Bush’s speech moved from politics to stand-up. He blasted the President for his, “approach to Iraq…excuse me, Iran.” He went on to say ISIS has a military strength of 200,000 fighters when CIA estimates say they’ve got between 20,000 and 31,500. Reporters were later told by e-mail Mr. Bush misspoke. He should have practiced saying Boko Haram as his version came out as “bow-coo haram.”

In high school I used to be required to carry a green school bag, the one with water-repellent rubber inside. It was the same color as military bags are now. Guys would carry their bags behind their backs by the straps while girls seemed to carry theirs in front as if they were carrying books. I don’t think they sell those bags any more which is a good thing. I felt silly carrying mine and it was so heavy my body developed a permanent tilt.

I carry a messenger bag in the summer and a leather backpack in the winter. I have never been one to carry a purse or handbag. Neither one fits my personality. I do remember the old ladies of my youth all wearing pretty much the same sort of wardrobe: clunky heeled tie shoes, support hose, flowered dresses, hats and huge handbags hanging off their arms.

I do have a flowered dress-it is my summer dress. As for the rest, not yet, not ever I hope.

“No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.”

December 4, 2014

Yesterday I had a vision of the post-apocalyptic world, and very few had survived. There were only four cars at the dump, a miracle as it was closed for the two days prior to yesterday. I went to Benny’s for lights and cords, and it was near empty. I was almost tempted to buy a million batteries for when the lights go out. In front of my coffee-sandwich store there were several parking places right in front. I was the only customer at the counter. The roads were nearly empty, and I had no trouble crossing two lanes of traffic. It was cold out yesterday, and it did start to rain but not until I was nearly home so the weather wasn’t a deterrent. Where were the people?

This morning an uninvited cat was sitting outside on my front steps. It looked quite at home. I was upstairs as was Gracie. That was a good thing because Gracie doesn’t like cats other than her own, and she’s not even sure about them. Gracie would have gone through the glass to get at that cat daring to invade her yard. I made noise and the cat just turned and looked at me and didn’t move. Finally I went down the stairs halfway and the cat scooted. Gracie never saw it. Catastrophe averted.

My outside Christmas lights look lovely. I added some white lights on top of the fence which look as if they are emanating from the giant star, and I outlined my sled and the skates hanging from it in colored lights. I put ball ornaments in a basket on the front step. My neighbor called last night to tell me how wonderful my house looks. Now I just have to get inside decorated. That will be a multi-day project but one which brings me joy and even wonder as I remember the history of the ornaments especially the ones from our family tree.

This afternoon I will finish the deck lights and call it a day. That book is waiting.

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

November 29, 2014

When I woke up, it was cloudy and dark. Now the sky is blue and the sun has returned for the first time in days, but it is mostly light and a bit of show. The early morning, even with the sun, was so cold my car windshield had frost for the first time this year.

Last night was the coldest night since March. Gracie got under the spread and stayed there all night which is unusual. Most times she starts to pant from the warmth and uncovers herself again. Right now she is napping, exhausted from barking outside at nothing and from playing fetch down the hall. She is finally back to her chipper self. I was a bit worried.

Today we’re going to the dump then we’ll Christmas shop along 6A. Gracie will be my co-pilot. Once the cold weather arrives, she gets to wait in the car, not something we can do in summer. She always keeps an eye out the closest window for my return.

One of the guest room beds is filled with boxes and bags, all Christmas presents. When something arrives, I just put it upstairs without marking anything down so I need to check and make a list of what I have for whom. Naughty or nice doesn’t count. I do love to Christmas shop, to find just the perfect gift. I never last-minute shop. All year-long I put gifts into my Christmas box. Over time I have learned to buy it when I see a perfect gift no matter the time of year as it might not be there the next time.

The gold finches have taken root at the feeders. They stayed around last winter, and it looks as if they’ll be here again. I did notice a few other sorts of birds in and out, but most take a seed and fly to a branch to eat it. The finches just hang around. A woodpecker stopped at the suet feeder. It stayed a while. I noticed the thistle feeders need to be filled, but I’ill wait for a warmer day.

“There was an edge to this darkness…. A cold wind was blowing out of the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

October 24, 2014

Today is much like the last few days, rainy and dark. The wind is still here, steady and strong. The oak leaves and the pine branches sway from side to side. The deck is littered with pine needles and yellow leaves.

Today we will venture, Gracie and I. We have five stops starting with Gracie’s second favorite place, the dump. Her very favorite place is Agway where dogs are welcome and where I buy her food and treats and food for the cats, and it too is on the list. Gracie will be a happy dog.

My backyard has lights wrapped around tree trunks. The palm tree is on the farmer’s deck. The fir tree in the deck corner has a single set of lights which are lit always. I think my yard has a touch of magic. I look out the window even on the darkest nights and see those spots of color beaming and radiating. Winter will come when night will last longer than day, but in my yard, there is always some light.

The house is quiet. All the animals are having their morning naps and all of them, all three of them, are in the den here with me. Gracie snores now and then and breathes deeply. The cats sleep soundlessly. How exhausted they all must be after a good night’s sleep. I remember sitting in school on dark, rainy days. The old school with its tall windows was the best spot to watch the rain, and I’d be drawn in by the sound of drops hitting those windows. We were quiet on day’s like today as if the rain had a dampening effect on all of us. During lunch we tended to whisper. We bemoaned our fate, stuck with no recess, no chance to let go of the energy stifled by sitting at a desk.

The basement bathrooms were four sets of wooden stairs away from the room, and those stairs were the only exercise on a rainy day. The nun herded us down in two lines, the boy’s line and the girl’s line, one on each side of the steps. At the bottom of the final set boys went right and girls went left. None of us ever dawdled. We’d finish and join the line to go back upstairs. When we were all done, the nun walked us back to our room. Nobody ever made a sound going up or down the stairs. We didn’t dare.

“If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior.”

October 12, 2014

The sun is back and 70˚ will be here by Tuesday. This is such a weird time of year, one which can’t quite figure out what season it is. Am I still fall or late summer or early winter? My heat went on this morning. It was set for 65˚ so the house must have been quite chilly, slippers and sweatshirt weather. We did go to the dump yesterday in the rain, Gracie and I. There were three cars counting mine. It was a brilliant move on my part. Today will be filled with cars parked hither and yon and people wondering why they didn’t go yesterday in the rain.

I got an e-mail about my 50th high school reunion next year. I was eleven when I graduated. Okay, I’m lying. Anyway, there was a bland questionnaire which even asked about pets. There was a list of deceased classmates, nine of them, but I know it is incomplete as a name I remember is missing. He was struck by lightning. One of the questions was favorite memories. I remembered my English classroom which had two doors, one in the front and one in the back near where I sat. When Mrs. Baker, called Ma Baker by us, was facing the board I used to sneak out the back door. I’d wander a bit or head for the library. When I figured I was gone long enough, I’d sneak back in. Once I wanted my friend to sneak out with me. She was afraid of being caught, but I cajoled and convinced her. I went first then signaled when she should follow. We didn’t get caught. I always wondered how Ma Baker never noticed two empty seats attached to desks with books.

My friend Marie, who has been my friend since I was ten, claims I have always gotten away with everything. She’s right. The key  was to step confidently over the line in plain sight. Sometimes I’d say, “Watch this,” and over the line I’d go. The adult, right there with me, never said a word, never castigated me for line stepping. I think it had to do with me being the least likely to step over the line. I never caused any trouble or sassed anyone, was smart in school and generally did what I was told so whatever I did was never suspect. Even now it drives Maria crazy because she always got caught. I still laugh and make fun of her. That too drives her crazy.

“What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy. “I shall lie abed and do nothing”, replied Meg.”

July 10, 2014

Yesterday was a sweat producing day, a day for the air-conditioner which was on all afternoon and night, but I turned it off this morning though it is still a bit warm. It’s just that the mornings are so lovely I hate to miss them sitting behind closed doors and windows. Right now there is a little breeze from the window behind me, the birds are singing and the neighborhood is gloriously quiet as if I’m alone in the world. I like that feeling sometimes. Last night it rained, but I didn’t hear it. Today might reach 80˚ but it will drop to the 60’s tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast has the nighttime temperature at 59˚. That sounds delightful.

My energy comes in spurts sometimes dictated by my back. Yesterday my sole accomplishments were to re-set the flag holder and screw in the hook off the deck which holds a bird feeder. Both were victims of the wind. The bird feeder had been filled but it fell to the ground and was emptied. I’m thinking the spawns had a picnic. Now that the hook is fixed I’ll go and retrieve the items which fell off the deck and refill the feeder. I am already on my second load of laundry, and I have to go buy Gracie food and drop a few things off at the dump. That, for me, is quite the busy day.

My sisters used to give my mother dandelion bouquets. She’d act thrilled as if she had been given the rarest flowers. She’d put the bouquet in a jelly glass and then in the middle of the table. The dandelions were brilliant yellow and didn’t seem at all like a weed should be.

My father always got two weeks’ vacation, and he took them in the summer. Most of the time we didn’t go away as it was too expensive though I do remember the trip to the island in Maine and the Niagara falls trip, but that’s it; instead, we’d go places close to home. I remember going to the beach on weekdays when the traffic was light, and there were parking spaces near the water. We’d stay most of the day. A couple of nights we’d go to the drive-in. Sometimes we’d go to Maine for a weekend and stay at my father’s friend’s cottage. I always found that boring. The water was too cold, and there was little to do. The museum trips were my favorite. I remember standing in the Egyptian section at the MFA and marveling at how tall the sarcophagi were. I still get that feeling when I visit the MFA even now. Once during the two weeks we’d go out to dinner, a rare occasion for us. We’d go to Kitty’s where the food was cheap and plentiful. It never occurred to me that we didn’t have enough money to go away. I never felt deprived, and I loved being surprised by every day.

“He’s too nervous to kill himself. He wears his seat belt in a drive-in movie.”

July 30, 2013

If I were Mother Nature, today would be among my finest creations. The sun is brilliant, the sky a dark blue, a slight breeze rustles the leaves and the air is clear and comfortable. Earlier, I was on the deck reading my papers and it took such a long time. I kept stopping to watch the birds at the feeders and Gracie run through the yard with her deflated basketball in her mouth. She looked joyful. almost prancing, playing in the coolness of the morning. She came on the deck and sat down beside me. I read the papers and absent-mindedly patted Gracie the whole time.

Gracie and I are going to the dump later. The trash is out by the car waiting to be loaded. Poor Gracie hasn’t been riding much as it has been too hot for her to be left while I did errands, but I always take her with me to the dump.

Wellfleet still has a drive-in movie theater. Dennis used to, but it was demolished years ago. That was my favorite of all the drive-ins. It was small and it was surrounded by trees. It was like being in your own backyard. Bugs were plentiful, but you loaded up on mosquito spray before you went so they pretty much left you alone. We used to pack a picnic basket, a tradition my father started. When I was a kid, we brought our own snacks to the drive-in as the ones in the refreshment stand were so expensive. Our adult picnic basket was a bit more elaborate. We filled thermos bottles with drinks, alcoholic drinks, and had crackers and cheese and fancy hors d’oeuvres. We’d put out our lawn chairs and sit by the speaker. We always used glasses, never plastic, and real forks and knives; however, I do admit we used paper napkins.

I thought it was a tragedy when they closed that drive-in, but land had become more valuable than a screen, speakers and some parking spots; however, most of that land remains untouched. Some of it became part of a vegetable farm, but that’s gone too. Only the shed where they sold their produce is still there but it is falling apart, a victim of the weather. Most people don’t know that behind a section of trees on a pretty well-traveled road is an open spot which used to be the drive-in. I think of it every time I go by those trees and I sigh a bit for what’s now gone.

“I’m wearing a garbage bag. I was put on my own worst-dressed list.”

June 13, 2011

Today is much like the last few days: cloudy, chilly and damp. It will stay in the 50’s, but I’m okay with that. Hot days will come soon enough. I have a list of errands today, none of them fun or exciting. Gracie would disagree. The dump is on the list.

My father loved his town dump. He went every Sunday and always tried to get one of us to go with him. Any weekend guests, including friends of mine from school, were generally coerced to take what we used to call the tour. The dump in those days was filled with tall piles of trash and had lots of seagulls flying overhead making all sorts of noise. My father would wend his way around the piles then add his contribution. The dump was easily visible from the highway. The birds gave it away. But now, the dump has changed, and my father would be keenly disappointed. The piles of trash have given way to recycle bins and trash bins and it has no seagulls. From the highway, all you can see is giant grass hills where the piles of trash used to be.

The house next door is a summer rental. It has never had anyone living there full time. The owners come up from New York before the start of the season to get the house ready. They mow the weeds in the front and back and put out the plastic deck furniture. That’s it for outside maintenance. At the end of the summer they’ll be back to mow again and to put the furniture away for the winter. The house is pretty simple with shingles (or shakes as some of you call them) on all four sides, no painting necessary. The front yard has pine chips instead of a lawn, no mowing necessary. Every Saturday the renters haul out the trashcans to the road and the trash truck comes. A couple of times I added a stinky trash bag to the pile. The alternative was to put it in my trunk until the next day, but even that one day is too long for stinky trash to sit enclosed in a hot trunk. I don’t ever meet the renters. I just hope they’re quiet and too tired to stay out on their deck too late. I almost called the police once because of noise. Our town has an ordinance about noise after 10. I held off, but I’m getting older and crankier and less tolerant. I just hope this summer’s crop is a quiet one.

“Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations.”

April 14, 2011

4″ of rain fell yesterday. It started raining the night before then poured all of yesterday. We even had thunder to give the rain a bit of spice. Today it’s 50°, and the sun is lurking behind light gray clouds. Gracie is busy watching the men clean the yard across the street. Their blowers were the first things I heard this morning. Today is one of Gracie’s favorite days: dump day. We’ll go as soon as I finish loading the car with my cardboard, bottles, magazines and newspapers. Did I mention the trash? She would have loved the old dump with piles of refuse and seagulls everywhere. The dump now has bins for all the recycling and bigger bins for the trash, and there are no seagulls.

When we lived in South Yarmouth, my father used to love to go to the dump. Every Sunday morning, he’d ask if anyone wanted to go with him. Guests were in big trouble as they were usually dragged along as if the dump was a tourist destination. I used to be able to see the old dump from the highway. The seagulls were always circling hoping to find a morsel. That dump too has been replaced, and from the highway, all I can see are green hills where the old dump used to be.

I sometimes drive by our old house in South Yarmouth. The only changes in the forty plus years since I lived there are an addition added to the kitchen side and a fence in the back. My bedroom was on the first floor as was my brother’s. I’m often tempted to stop and peek in the windows, but I can still see every room in my mind’s eye. It’s the same with the house we left to move to the cape. I remember every piece of furniture in every room. In Ghana, my house was small, four rooms, and I know every one of them as if I still lived there. My bedroom had a wall of slat windows, and I actually made curtains. They were of brown Ghanaian cloth with a design. I cut then hemmed then used string to hold them across the windows. In the living room, the light bulb hung from a long wire. I made a shade from a Bolga basket, the same ones you can now buy from catalogs. I cut a hole in the top and used pieces of a wire hanger to hold the bulb. The shade left a small circle of light on the floor below it. During the rainy season, the only time we had bugs, the circle under the lampshade was always filled with dead ones from the night before.

Well, enough with the memories. I need to get to the dump.