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TITLE: Bear Creek Narratives - Trash Day
By Glenn A. Hascall
11/10/04
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This is another chapter in what I hope will become my first book under the pen name Dave Chrisman. There are two other sections of Bear Creek narratives in the Critique Circle if you want to spend more time in Bear Creek. -- Thanks.

Glenn
Bear Creek Narratives

Trash Day
Dave Chrisman

“Dave, did you take the garbage out?” Abby calls from the kitchen.

Oh, I knew I’d been had. This was the third time she’d asked and this morning Jolly would be dropping by to pick up our trash. You see, Bear Creek allows a private contractor to pick up the residents garbage. Jolly was the man most of us ‘contracted’ with.

Jolly Wilson had a vintage Ford pickup with wooden side boards. He piled in
as much as he could and then went and sorted through it all. Sort of a trash/recycling enterprise. When this exercise was complete he’d take the rest of the debris to the town dump. When Jolly wasn’t hauling trash he was fixing recycled things. We’ve all purchased effects from Jolly that were discarded by one of the fine residents of Bear Creek. The only difference was that under the care of this trashman the item always worked when we bought it from him. The man just has a gift. It’s a whole lot easier to accept that whole idea of ‘one man’s trash being another man’s treasure’ if you just don’t take the time to think about what it is that you’re taking home. We’ve all been making a conscious effort to refrain from saying things like, “That looks familiar,” or “I used to have one just like that.”

Jolly charges $5.00 a month. He figures about $1.25 per trip and if there’s a fifth pickup in a month he tosses that in for free (we all make it up to him at Christmas time).

I do know for a fact that Dale Pryor pays twice as much, but then he is mighty particular.

All of this is running through my mind as I amble back to the alley where Jolly is sitting on his tailgate waiting.

“I figured you forgot again,” his deep voice rumbled good naturedly as he filled his coffee cup from an old thermos (an example of his recycling efforts).

“Thanks for waiting, Jolly,” I said without a hint of embarrassment.

“Ah, I figured it was better to wait than to have to come back later when the missus gave me a call,” Jolly chuckled.

“Smart man,” I replied. “Oh, and there’s an old blender in there that might be serviceable.”

“You know I’ll find it,” Jolly said confidently as he dumped the remains of the previous week into his truck. “Tell Abby I send my best. Tell John the night crawlers are thick right now, just wait till dark and take a lantern.”

“I’ll do it,” I reply as the truck rattles down the alley to the Eberharts who always seem to have their garbage by the back gate on time.

I walk back up to the house and look suspiciously at the ground, disturbed by the thought of a living carpet of worms at night.

“What did Jolly have to say?” Abby calls from the kitchen.

“He sends his best,” I reply.

Abby hums as she finishes breakfast, “ Hey, look everyone.” Haddie, John and Mary Beth run into the kitchen jockeying for position. “I finally have room in the trash can to actually put something. Take a good look children, it’ll be another week before you see something this amazing again.”

I take the poke in good nature and we all sit down to breakfast. I notice once again my wife’s smile and the laughter of my children. Then I notice the chirping of spring birds and the sound of Joan Eberhart whistling as she waters her flowers.

It was a fine morning to praise the Creator of places like Bear Creek. Good neighbors, good friends and a family that I can’t imagine living without.

No matter how the rest of the day turns out, it started brilliantly.

Come and visit us sometime at Bear Creek, just down the road from the last place you’d expect, where the best news is found at Ralph’s Barber Shop and where the arrival of the future seems to have been postponed indefinitely.
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