Friday, December 11, 2009


I know that is an odd title so I’d better explain. For two weeks we have had a medium-size (“You’ll be needing a ten-yarder, sir!”) dumpster in our driveway. For the benefit of my old country friends that translates as a “skip.” It all stemmed from the need, on completing the upgrade of the basement, to rid ourselves of as much junk as possible. A streamlining exercise, if you will, in anticipation of collecting even more stuff. And so during the fortnight (and for U.S. readers that translates as two weeks) in which this steel monster stood on my gravel much was thrown into it.

Most was easily disposable. Old cuts of wood. A couch that had seen much better days. A filing cabinet that had never closed, and a chest of drawers that I had bought at a thrift shop – unwisely. Then there were armfuls of old tiles and shingles and fabrics that had accumulated in darker corners, and pool toys from two summers ago, mildewed and scarred. It all went in with a joyful shout!

But then came the family burials. The toys, the craft kits, the models and the stuffed animals. Forgotten and forsaken, or in some instances, never ever played. In it all went, silently. Plastic, unlike wood or metal, makes no sound as it is consigned to the pit.

Emotionally it wasn’t at all easy. The experience of tipping a box of Barbie dolls and accessories onto a heap of dirty waste was shockingly difficult to explain. This was more than mere cleaning out. This was a sense of time passing too quickly, and me being too slow to acknowledge this. Also the passing of a young girl into her teenage years, and the interment of a father’s daughter’s playtime memories. Yet we cannot keep everything, can we?

Am I crazy? I’m usually Mr. Pragmatic, but when it comes to physical reminders of my daughter’s early childhood, now gone, I am completely bloody useless. And the dumpster has now been taken away.

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