Yesterday my son Andrew and I knocked out our second trip to the dump and I know you are all dying to hear about this great American adventure. Hold your horses a second because you need a little Radish dump background.
I grew up in a tiny Wisconsin town called Big Bend where street lights were non-existent, there was one grocery store, a bank and a gas station that my great uncle owned and also turned into a little beer bar. My dad bought a lot of gas! We also had the best dump in the world. The dump was at the end of a place we called The Gravel Pit, because it was, but it was also part of our very large outdoor playground. The pit froze in the winter and we would have big fires down there, burning dump garbage–what else, ice skating and generally farting around like all kids who grew up in the country.
The dump was open on Saturday mornings and there was always a steady stream of Big Benders dropping off garbage, furniture, and everything from old bowling balls to pots of lost and forgotten gold, or so we thought. My brother, Jeff, cousins Mike and Susie and I were pretty much regulars down there, although the boys carried this obsession much further and longer then we did. My poor mother would wait to see what kinds of junk, actually she said shit, we would drag home and then funny thing, we would often find something just like it the next week in the dump. Here’s the deal–it was a lot of fun. We made up stories, walked through several back fields, climbed down rock walls and then pawed through piles of our towns junk as if we were searching for lost diamonds.
Last year on one of my Sweet Mama trips back to Wisconsin we drove over to see the dump and I had a hard time not crying like a baby when I saw that the dump was now covered with the most expensive homes in our once little town. I drove around the lovely dump subdivision with my mouth hanging open and then stopped the car right where we used to come through the back fields. My mom sat next to me smiling, her face filled with so many memories I thought the weight of them might make her fall over. “You kids loved going to the dump,” she said looking back over her shoulder toward the little red brick house that was once ours. ” I think the neighbors thought we were beggars and you know your dad threw all the junk right back where you found it.”
Our playground stretched beyond the dump and into other fields and an old farm that are all now littered with houses and people and those damn outdoor lights I detest. The dark will not kill you people! We fueled our imaginations with sticks, rocks, junk from the dump, pieces of old rope we found on the side of the street and a thirst for adventure that still sits right on my left shoulder.
My two trips to the dump with my son have unleashed lots of memories that I shared as his little dog Montana jumped around inside the truck while we threw boxes, cans, bottles (mostly wine bottles), and other crap into the proper bins. I’m sad to say we are getting garbage pickup soon, but I’m going to save some stuff for special mother-son bonding trips to my new dump. The place is a playground just waiting to happen and there is a really nice man there who hands out dog treats, tells stories as his dentures rock back and forth, and takes treasures that no one else wants..see above!
You will find this shocking but we are off for a long-awaited trip to Alaska next week and I plan to share those adventures with you. Denver, Seattle, Bellingham, the Alaska State Ferry…and honest?…it’s hard to leave my dump and the mountains.