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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Today's Post is Brought To You By The Letter B

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter B and the category Memoirs

I was born in 1974. 
I don’t remember it.  That may be a good thing, considering the clothes everyone was wearing back then.
I was the garbage man’s kid.   Some of you may have been the post man’s kid (for real) but I hailed from a line of garbage men.  Grandpa was a garbage man, dad was a garbage man and I was destined to become a garbage man.  I was OK with it.  It was an honorable profession and Gramps and Dad were very professional business men.  They ran a good ship you might say.
As things tend to do, this particular profession was not in the cards for me as the business was sold to the giants that were slowly murdering the small time guys and there wasn’t much choice but to sell out, take the table scraps and run.  Which is what happened.  My career as a garbage man was cut short.
I can still remember those hot summer days when all my friends were running through the sprinklers in their front yards.  The grass was green, the sky was blue and the sun was brilliant.  One of those days that makes you proud to be alive, proud to be an American.  Those were the good old days of family picnics and barbequed chicken, flying kites and swimming in the local lakes.  The best of times, before rampant terrorism and 911 paralyzed our nation.  When it was OK to let your kids out to play and the only thing that brought them back was the porch light turning on.  Those days were precious.  Those days I was in the age range of 8-14.
While all those kids were playing their summers away I was hanging off the back of a garbage truck.  ‘Picking trash’ is what we called it.  I was a hanger-man.  My arm hooked in the big D-ring on the back of the truck and leaning into the breeze to catch the fresh air and a few smattering of late season June bugs.  I scooped up trash from 7am until 4 or 5 pm every day of the week. 
I wasn’t forced to, if that’s what you’re thinking.  I liked it.  I liked going to work with my Dad, being around those big trucks and their diesel engines which belched out black clouds of smoke every time they accelerated.  I loved the feeling of freedom I got knowing that I was “on my own” and making money.  I felt responsible.  I felt purposed.
When I think back to those days I don’t think about all of the lost summers, I don’t think about the hard work, the sweat and the stench.  I think about who I am, as a direct result of those years.  My work ethic and my drive.  Our parents help to build us but I believe, ultimately, that we build ourselves.  I think we all have something inside of us from birth that dictates who and what we will become.  I think I was born to be a worker.  Like my Father before me and my Grandfather before him.  We were born to be…


  1. I used to watch the men hanging on to the back of the garbage truck and wonder how many fell off. I agree with you that we build ourselves. Our society likes to blame someone before us, but I do believe we make choices.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

  2. And a mighty fine Bushman you are. Couldn't be prouder

  3. Great time you got to spend with your dad as you were on the back of the garbage truck. I truly admire the garbage men of old so to speak when they picked up the trash with their hands. It is easier these days to be one except maneuvering around the big truck in small narrow streets.


  4. When I was kid the kids on my street used to chase after the garbage truck when it rumbled down the street. The garbage-men would say 'hi, boys!' and the girls among us would say, 'we're not boys!!' What a fun memory your story provokes :)

  5. That was moving. I was on the truck with you… I could smell the stench and almost taste a June bug, very visual.
    Most of all I felt the rush of being a young child hanging on to truck and dad… very powerfully written.

    Great B story - way to go!

    Jenny, Pearson Report
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador

  6. It's so nice to meet you Jeff and learn more about you!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  7. What a fun glimpse into your history! I look forward to reading more. Such a young feller. :D

  8. Excellent learning about you. Good luck on the challenge!

  9. When you were born I was in my fourth year of college. I'm old enough to be your father! My clothes weren't overly weird back then, but my hair was long.

    Riding on a garbage truck would have been cool. A good work ethic is a fine thing to have instilled within you.

    I was reminded of a joke that my father used to tell in his comedy juggling act (he was talking about his early work life):
    "I used to work as a garbage man. The pay was good and it was all you could eat."

    Badda-boom! I'm outa here.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. OK, Arlee, you win. I was still in high school.

    2. Not really a contest that I wanted to win, Al. I think you grew older though and I got stuck in time, eh Pops?

  10. You were born in 1974.
    I got my driver's license in 1974.
    There's a lesson here.
    Oh, yeah. I'm an old f**k.
    Carry on.

  11. Ooh, I sense the start of a novel here. Maybe a mystery. A garbage man could get away with a lot of sleuthing.

  12. I liked this post, it's happy with a tinge of sadness. :-)

    Cait @ Click's Clan


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