Walking around my neighborhood, I glance at the stuff in my neighbors’ recycling bins. If I am observant (a polite word for nosey) I can put little pieces of their lives together.
For instance, looking at the empty cartons in the recycling bins, I knew that one of my neighbors received a crock pot for Christmas. At the same house, someone opened a box that contained a new keyboard.
Next door there were five empty pizza boxes. Well, after all, it was a busy week – who had the time for much more than taking a pizza from a box? It was a few days after Christmas so it wasn’t a surprise that one of the bins contained four of those long cardboard tubes that before they were empty had wrapping paper wound around them.
I came to the conclusion that the recycling bin in front of my own house was probably the most boring one on the block.
If someone looked at that discarded stuff, there was no hint that I had eaten a fancy dish prepared in a new crock pot — or even a slice of delicious pizza.
There were lots of empty tin cans that once held pork and beans or noodle soup, or maybe a jar with a little peanut butter in the bottom. There might have been an empty mustard jar or cracker box. There was probably at least one aspirin bottle.
I hope no one got close enough to our trash to notice – or worse yet, close enough to count – all the chocolate candy wrappers that had been discarded. Maybe if someone had counted and thought that eight children lived in our house they wouldn’t have thought that all that chocolate was so strange.
I wouldn’t want them to realize that there are no children in our house, or that the only other occupant beside myself is my wife, who doesn’t eat chocolate.
But it was so good.
* * * * *
I have always enjoyed winter and its snow. I enjoyed it when my friends and I spent many hours every wintry day on our sleds.
When I think of winters as a kid I’m at the “dump” – our out of traffic sliding place behind the houses at the end of our street.
On days when it was too wintry to go to school, it was never too cold or too snowy to pull on our snow pants, buckle on our boots, grab warm mittens, hats and our sleds and head for the “dump.”
The natural hill between two streets and all the roller coaster-like bumps and jumps created by the loads of ashes dumped there throughout the years was a great place to go sledding.
Lafayette Hill, a couple of blocks from our house, was another popular sledding place. It was a long, steep hill with a curve at the bottom which helped slow us down. We didn’t seem to mind the long walk back up so we could do the whole thing all over again.
I have noticed that the kids sledding on the hill in the park across the street from where I live seem to have other things on their minds in the high technology world we live in. While pulling their sleds back up the hill they are checking their cell phones for text messages.
Modern technology as far as we were concerned on those cold, wintry days consisted of our warm socks and snow pants and those long pieces of yarn our mothers had attached to our mittens so we wouldn’t lose them.
Most of us didn’t even know about television — but we were happy with our sleds and a “good hill.”
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