Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Town Dump

Last week I was reading Dayna's blog, and I thought "garbage" was a great idea to expand upon. Not that Dayna's blog is garbage because it certainly is not. She blogged about putting garbage out and the terrible social pressure it put her under. Well worth reading. So I said to myself "you’re an old man dick and you know a lot about garbage so you should write about it." "You have 61 years of garbage in your background and someone might be interested". Not to many old people write about garbage, when they get old, rather they just contribute more and more to the subject. If I may be so forward as to steal a quote from Dayna's blog........poopie said..."Dayum've got garbage pickup? What a luxury!! I pack mine in the trunk of my car once a week and haul it to an undisclosed location :) Tires. I just burn." That is exactly where I am coming from. When I became 10 years of age I also became official garbage "fire starter" for my family. Back then [1953], in South Dakota, we had only a city dump supplied by the city. It was a pretty rudimentary dump as our city fathers had gone out and found a nice little valley in the hillside, that could not bee seen from the town or the surrounding farms and ranches, built a road to it and named it The Town Dump. That was about all the City Fathers wanted to be involved with. You could take anything there that you wanted. Tires, stumps, construction debris, washers and refrigerators were allowed. I always thought that the city burned all of the debris because it was always on fire but I later found out that was because people were always dumping live ashes from their fireplaces in the dump and catching it on fire. Back to becoming "fire starter". Anyone that thinks that I am a self-confessing pyromaniac would be better served by reading something else at this point. Being declared, "fire starter" was better than being family "garbage man" in my opinion. Being a "garbage man" required daily trips out back, lugging a stinky garbage can and then further sorting it outside, while being named "fire starter only required me to light the garbage on fire. Those of you who have carefully followed my blogging will right away realize that at 10 years of age I was seriously traumatized by my little brother Gary's birth and my subsequent banishment to the basement. Being declared, "fire starter" was probably appeasement onmy parents part to compensate for the psychological damage that had occurred to me. Back to my store as I digress too much. My main point is to explain to you, the vigilant reader, what garbage collection and disposal was like in my youth. In those days, houses had alleys and that is where rubbish duties took place. We had a big white garbage can rack, back there. The rack held 3 very beat up garbage cans. In front of the rack was an old 55-gallon metal drum, without a cover that was our incinerator. My next oldest brother [16 years old] was the "Garbage Man" and he would, upon my Mother's orders haul all of the trash to the alley. He would sort the trash, putting paper, boxes, etc into the incinerator. On top of all of that he dumped the gushy stuff [food scraps were given to the dog but what he wouldn't eat were put in the incinerator]. Cans with food still in them were also put in. Now it was my turn to start the fire. The purpose of all of this was to burn up the smelly food remnants and the labels and contents of food cans. When the incinerator got full, the family "garbage man" would tip it upside down putting the contents into the beat up metal cans in the racks. About once every 2 weeks, a private garbage man came around, with his brother shorty, and dumped the silver cans on his truck and took the contents with him to The Town Dump. I remember that his truck had 2x6 around the edges, to stop the garbage from falling out, but when the truck was full he left us about the same amount as he picked up. You are probably asking yourself "why not put higher sides on the truck so the garbage didn't fall out?" The answer to that and many other intriguing questions can be gleaned by rereading this posting. [Hint: Find the name of the drivers brother]. Hey this is a true story so let's not be falling asleep. In 1960 we moved to a nice home, on the edge of town, but we still had an alley, the garbage rack w/3 beat up cans, but no incinerator. The Fathers had outlawed the burning of trash because "It stunk" and people were tired of breathing it. There weren’t any ecological considerations being used, the burning garbage stunk and that was that. Sometime prior to this the garbage brothers had gotten a new truck. This one had a big white cylinder for a dump box and you could push a lever and all of the contents got compressed. Shorty was still dumping the trash and the brothers were now rich. {more about the exciting adventures of "Fire Starter" and "Shorty" in the next post}

1 comment:

dayna said...

*LOL* Ahhh the good old days. Great post Dick. Can't wait to hear more about Firestarter and Shorty.

When I was a kid we had a "burning barrel" in our apartment. We were expected to burn the burnables. There was a grate on top and I remember putting all kinds of insects on it and watching them get fried. Horrible.