Just mentioning “the dump” brought a flood of memories — stinky, adventuresome memories.
And not just for me.
It all started, again, with a brain spark — or maybe an early-senior moment — on Facebook.
I posted: “This might be fun if they’d letcha browse. (Fond memories of goin’ to ‘the dump’ as a young ’un). ‘Residents to clean up on Free Landfill Day: Oklahoma City residents can get rid of big junk at no cost and without waiting for Bulk Waste Day. Free Landfill Day is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at participating landfills.’”
Folks got it. (More info: http://tinyurl.com/dumpfree.)
Friend in Stillwater, male: “My favorite ‘dump memory’ is picking off rats with a .22, which, I’m most positive, would be frowned upon today.” He must have a Texas past, because he added: “The aforementioned comment failed to mention lukewarm cans of Pearl.”
I thought this might be a Southern thing, but nope.
Friend in British Columbia, Canada, female: “My mother always browsed, and we had to help — in fact, we’d take weekend drives to dumps. She found some pretty great antiques in those days (’70s), refinished them and still has them.”
Friend in Texas, from northeast Oklahoma, male: “The guy that ran the dump in my hometown was always pulling the good stuff out and displaying it along the road. Better than going to a big hardware store.”
Ah, “the dump.” The final resting place for household discards — but purgatory for lucky finds! Those of us of a certain age predating the advent of “professional waste management,” we remember.
West Texas friend: “I brought more home from the dump than I took. Plus it was good rat hunting ground. Kids today don’t know what they’re missing by not getting to prowl the dump.”
Canadian friend again: “The best dumps (looking back) were the old-fashioned pioneer/homesteader ones out in the country. You could find history-laden things like wrought-iron beds, glass salt and pepper shakers that had been hand blown with the bubbles in them, Depression Glass dishes (once in a while), simple, homemade furniture. My mother once found a ‘gun barrel’ chair, which she refinished, re-caned and that I now have at my house.”
My earliest memories: Going with Daddy with a pickup load to an “unofficial” dump off a dirt road way out in the country — his easygoing way when I found abandoned toys, and Mama’s not-so-easygoing you-brought-WHAT-back-? protests.
Another American pastime felled by progress: the pay-as-you go city dump, upgraded to “landfill,” outside Sallisaw, and prohibitions on dump picking!
Thank goodness for organized landfills. But that last part ain’t right.