Our garbage tells a story
By Theresa Blume
The day after Christmas was beautiful in Marshfield. The sun came out for a little while, and it was warm enough for walking with my granddaughter. We saw dogs in the dog park again and people shoveling snow that had come off in drifts from sharply angled roofs, and my little granddaughter was finally able to walk in her snow boots.
We came across a most incredible thing, a water puddle. First, she stepped in it and waited, feeling the cold penetrate. Then she reached down with her new soft gloves that Grandma gave her for Christmas and dipped one deep in the puddle. Surprise, the glove came out wet and cold.
Undeterred, the other hand headed toward the puddle despite Grandma’s efforts to stop it. Now both gloves were off, and she was attempting to drink the muddy water while Grandma was busy squeezing out the gloves. So granddaughter was picked up and whisked to dry ground, but like a magnet she headed straight back to the puddle.
Since most sidewalks were dry enough for little wheels, last summer’s stroller was then called in to duty. As we slowly meandered down our old walking path, I noticed how winter had changed our usual scenery.
I pointed out holiday décor to my fascinated granddaughter. Wreaths of all kinds hung on doors. Snowmen, Santa Clauses, reindeer, and decorated trees graced snowy lawns. One yard had large candy canes leading up to the door, and there was a beautiful nativity scene at another house with each character focused on the baby in the manger.
Another rare sight was the large piles of stuffed garbage bags at the curb on that day after Christmas. The see-through recycled bags told each home’s Christmas story.
At first glance you see wrapping paper, ribbons, and colorful boxes, but closer study revealed doll boxes, a Lincoln Log box, empty candy boxes, discarded poinsettias, and remnants of a newly chewed-up dog toy. I saw large boxes from new televisions and computers, and one blue recycle box had what looked like all bills in it. Too much Christmas?
It was interesting to see that the nicest looking houses with fake white trees and red bulb ornaments shining in the windows did not have as much garbage, but the kid-friendly houses with stickers on the windows had trash bags bursting at the seams. Being a new empty nester, I understood that houses with children generally have more messiness and trash while the older folks have better decorations and less refuse.
I am in both worlds right now. My house is kid-friendly and messy, but on Christmas day I do not have as much trash as when my three kids were small. Then again, I am blessed to see the wonder of a winter water puddle through the eyes of my 1-year-old granddaughter.
The saddest houses of all have kids in them but no trash from gaily-wrapped gifts on the curb. This tells a story that some might not notice. Thinking about that makes me grateful for messes in my own house and the garbage outside.