“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.”Posted April 22, 2014 by Kathleen Ryan
Tags: critter bark, garbage man, garbage pail, Ghana, gross jobs, maggots, marathon and baseball, nameless workers, night soil man, quiet day, reading, sunny and cloudy, trash man
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.
“Jesse Winchester, a folk icon and singer-songwriter beloved for many songs from the heart, died at his home in Virginia on April 11, after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 69.”