(Dear Readers, if this column looks familiar, you have a good memory. I first wrote it about four years ago and received many positive comments on it. I thought I’d share it with you again.)
Around my house, I’m the one who takes out the garbage. It’s just always been that way. At one time I tried to get that to be one of my kids’ jobs, but somehow it never got done on time or when it got full or something else happened that made me give up on the kids’ chore idea. Ever since I have just done it when it needs to be done.
Some time ago, (I guess everything happened ‘some’ time ago.) I found myself with the pleasant job, (sarcasm) of actually having to paw through one of those big black bags of trash after I had already put it in the outdoor trash can. I don’t remember the reason I was there under the carport with my head nearly in that bag, but there I was. One of us had evidently lost something … car keys, I think, and ‘someone’ had to look for it. For some reason, at our house, when we get a new car it becomes my wife’s; when some really gross job must be done, it’s always mine. Go figure. It’s somehow probably related to why I’m the one who takes out the trash, too.
As I said, for whatever reason, and for whatever I was looking for, I was under the carport with my garden gloves, carefully removing the trash from that bag, piece by piece, and placing it into the open end of another one. As I did so I became more and more disgusted, and nauseated, especially, and I remember this part well … I never found whatever it was that I was supposed to find.
Later that day, after I had recovered from the sights and smells of the trash, I began to think a bit differently about that awful experience. I had already told several people about how poor old me had to do that disgusting job and had likely listed the ‘stuff’ I had pawed through, to them. The items were still fresh in my mind, if the word fresh can be used in this story, and it was truly an amazing list, believe it or not.
In that trash was the envelope from a wonderful card my granddaughter Sofi had given to us just days before, for our forty-sixth anniversary, and to thank us for picking her up at summer camp. That young girl is such a treasure to us, as are all our grandkids. There were also several empty and discarded toddler food containers from the last time we had fed another beautiful granddaughter, two-year-old Nahla. She loves having Grammy and Papa feed her. I had to move many bags from recent trips to Walmart, Hannaford’s, and T J Max, along with others. Evidently, in the time that trash bag was in our kitchen wastebasket, we had been able to make a lot of purchases at those stores.
There was a broken toy. (It’s fun to watch Nahla play, but she tends to be a bit rough on her toys.) There were a few empty medicine bottles; we had received new ones. What would we do without that medicine? There was also a wrapper from a new shirt I had purchased, and several candy and cookie bags. I also remember seeing a soft drink-soaked coloring book picture that one of the grandkids and their grandmother had done together when they were visiting together around the dining room table. Of course, there were lots of slimy food scraps and gross coffee grounds in the mix. Evidently, we had food, and plenty of it, including my morning coffee.
We in our country have so much to be truly thankful for. As strange as this may seem, counting our blessings may be as simple as counting our bags of trash. If you’re the one at your house who always takes them out to the can, be thankful that you have them to take.
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