I can hardly believe my weary, bloodshot eyes. But it seems that after a hiatus of over 2 decades, I have re-established my roots. You see, I was born to dumpster dive. Really. My father owned and operated his own garbage business, for as long as I can remember. He and his father used to haul trash in a horse drawn wagon, where dad would stand in the wagon, and grandpa would toss the cans up to him to dump inside the wagon. This was back in the years when folks would raise hogs and chickens in their back yards, so food items were rarely, if ever tossed. If it went bad, it went to the livestock. What dad and gramps hauled were things that could neither be feed to critters, or burned in the burn barrels. But now on to the good stuff. Growing up, all I can remember is dad's huge garbage truck, with this big jaw like steel plate that was hydraulic powered, and garbage. We'd dump the cans, or dumpster's into the hopper at the back end of the truck (OSHA didn't exist in rural Montana back then, so even us kids were lifting 200 lb. cans of trash) and then when the hopper was full, you pull the handle and the big steel blade would come down, and scoop all the trash up into the big box. One time, when I wasn't paying attetion, dad pulled the handle, and well, my gloved hand got caught in the blade and it started to pull me up into the box. It smashed my hand and finger's pretty bad, but they've since healed. Anyway, back to the kewl stuff, grandpa had like 3 huge mountains of bicycles in the pasture at his place, and we (my brother, cousin and I) would build good bikes out of all the old ones, and give em out to the neighborhood. We'd bust a lot of them too by jumping over as many unused garbage cans as our bravery would allow. During the school year, when we weren't working the routes with dad, he would come home from "the office" and we would come running out of the house yelling "whaddya git me, whaddya git me?" referring to any wonderful treasures he may have found that day. And he sure did find treasures. A wallet with $200 in it and no ID, diamond rings, rifles, pistols, tv's, antiques, bicycle's, tricycle's (we used to take all these old trikes, dissassemble them, turn the frames over, then put them back together and make "big wheels". I really think my bro' and I are the true inventors of this) cars (once dad put a VW bug into the hopper, and when the blade came down to scoop it up, it actually squeezed it like a watermelon seed and the bug shot out the back of the truck), lot's of old army gear, he had many antique weapons like bayonets, swords, and such, a huge wad of confederate currency. Lot's of cool stuff. Dad once brought home this old Ham Radio receiver, that worked. I would stay up late at night listening to the airwaves on this thing. I could hear chinese, russian, and just about everthing else on this thing. It was so awesome. Summer time would roll around and when I got old enough to be a "man", dad would actually just drive, and I would dump, meaning that I was ruining my back for the future, but hey, it was free labor. Later on, at 14, I got my drivers license, and needed a car, gas money, and cash for the girls, and this is when I found out the true value of recycling. Computers back then only existed in only about 5 universities, and at NASA. So, not much in the way of computer stuff, but the aluminum cans and glass bottle biz was very profitable. Each summer, I would earn about $3000 cash, to blow on just about anything, which I learned to do with ease. Also, I remember mom would run the books for the local landfill that was privately owned. Oh boy, before us kids were old enough to actually go on the route with dad, we stayed at the dump with mom, and that was our "playground". We would always be at the dump site, instead of the office trailer, and we'd always be sifting through the good stuff. I once found a collection of very old silver dollars, and still have most of them. I also found a bunch of stamps that I have never been able to identify, and somebody threw out their cool match book collection. But best of all were the comic books that we collected. Boxes and boxes and boxes of comic books. I mean huge, full, boxes. And then, after I grew up and joined the military, mom through them and all my other "treasured" stuff away. I think this was her way of getting me back for all the trouble I had caused in my teenage years. Well, there is much much more to this story, but for carpel tunnel sake, I will quit here. Oh to be a garbage man's kid in this new electronic age we live in. What a dream that would be!
Life as seen from the Top O' tha Heap, is as grand as it is cheap!!