Rewritten Fall of 2012
Today we’re asked to be “green” or to preserve environmental quality (by being recyclable, biodegradable, or nonpolluting). But it doesn’t seem like that long ago that I climbed onto the back of a Chevy II station wagon to “take the cans to the dump.” Steve and my dad loaded up a huge barrel from the garage that was filled with tin cans to the hatch door of the station wagon.
“You two sit beside it and make sure it doesn’t move.” said my dad.
It was so heavy that it made the whole back of the car tilt downward and, in fact, we often hit bottom on the dirt road below Halteman Rd. The Chevy II bounced and we desperately tried to hold onto the huge barrel. If one of us was inside the car when my dad started driving, the air thwarted and pushed against our faces till we could barely breathe. It felt like a wind tunnel with our vision blurred and tear-stricken, but we held on to our given responsibility.
When we neared the drop-off point, we had to drive off the road onto the grass up above the creek. Then we all got out, releasing the white knuckled grip we had on the barrel. My dad sighed, and we knew what our job was.
“Now Steve, you take one side and I’ll take the other,” he said.
It was not easy to lift the big barrel, but they grunted and panted till the barrel was up, then a few bent-knee steps, then carefully, carefully they tilted the barrel’s contents down the hill. I watched as the tin cans cascaded over the edge, each one going in a separate direction and then indistinct from the multi-colored rust of discarded cans, old carpet, bicycle rims and car doors. It was a necessity in our lives and we didn’t question the odd expanse of ugliness screaming over the quiet, placid stream below.