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My boys have learned the days of the week early in life, because of Thursdays. “Yes sweeties,” I explain, “On Thursdays the trucks drive down our street.”

It’s quite the spectacle. We don’t listen to music during breakfast. We dare not miss the first hiss of their brakes. We run out the front door.

First, the dump trucks, two of them, rumble around the corner. Second, the “cat claw” (It’s actually a front-loader with a sideways clam claw jaw) follows behind the trucks. With its tires as big as my four year old, it scoops up yard debris and junk into the trucks. Finally, the garbage truck roars down the street, grinding and smashing.

My boys love it.

So you can imagine how much I have watched my little street throw away. Let’s see, it’s been four years… Toilets, monitors, lawn furniture, lattice, sandboxes, ovens, exercise equipment, lamps, lawn mower (that was us), chairs, cupboards, bird cages, bicycles, toys, cardboard boxes and cardboard boxes and cardboard boxes, paint doors, refrigerators, fishing poles, grills, weed whackers, Christmas decorations, plants, planters, artwork, shelves, doll houses, rocking horse and plastic kid stuff beyond belief.

The three of us watch, every Thursday, as more and more and more of our waste and want-nots are hauled away. Idealistically it’s great! We never have to look at that POS we never needed in the first place. Just drag it out to the end of the driveway, go off to work, and,Voila! C’est magnifique! It disappeared!

Quick reminder: our junk does not disappear. It’s sitting in landfills releasing huge amounts of CO2 and methane into our atmosphere. The vastness of our country allows us to just forget about our excesses. So, Chad and I have made an effort in reducing our household waste. Guess what? It works. It’s a little like a diet: some discipline and know-how and the scale tips less.

We all know how, right? Break down all those cardboard boxes – all of them. Cereal boxes, 12-pack boxes, and toy product packaging can all be put in your blue recycling bin. Those moving boxes can be taken to the recycling stations, not left at the end of the driveway.

Use Goodwill and the Kidney Foundation. Goodwill supports local citizens and accepts all those toys, clothes, shoes, furniture, and knick-knacks filling your closets. They even have a drive-thru! And if you’re trying to drive less, the Kidney Foundation will pick it all up at your front door – even better. One more suggestion, the obvious: buy less.

Every Thursday I wonder how those truck drivers do it. I know I’d yell and shout at those homes. “Look,” I’d holler, “What’s all this wastefulness?!” But the job can be grueling, and I’d need the benefits – you wouldn’t hear me over the roaring tucks anyways.

And this reminds me that these are real men, dealing with our garbage. Thanks Luther, Michael, Maurice, Fred, Tyrone, Anton, and “guy whose name I’m too timid to ask”. You honk, wave, and smile at my boys, and they love it. They see it all too; all the junk and smelly gunk. It’s in our good conscience to think, where is this junk going?

As much as I enjoy watching the trucks drive up and done our street with my boys, I’d like it more if I saw less being scooped, scraped, dumped, and smashed.

Did I mention we live on a dead-end street? That’s right. We watch the whole parade twice, on Thursdays.

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