by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- People who live in the city have no clue (nor do they care) what happens to garbage after they put it in the can. But we in the country know that not everything fits in a garbage can, and after collecting this stuff for a little while – say 20 years – it has to be hauled to the dump.
Going to the dump can be a family affair – the spouse says, “Honey we’re going to the dump.” And you try to come up with some reason why you can’t go to the dump, but you are stumped. “You really need my help?” you croak. And the spouse says, “Of course I do honey.” So, like a good partner, you go to the dump. You know how nice clean city people go on picnics and play badminton in white clothes? Well, we go to the dump.
When I was a little kid, my dad would take me to the dump. Not every day or anything like that. It was like a special treat a couple times a year. Back then, dumps weren’t the industrial enterprises they are today. And there were no food scraps to make a dump stinky – after all, people fed all their food scraps to the pigs. The dump was peaceful, and it was quite fascinating to a little kid – like being on a treasure hunt. And before you feel sorry for me, I want to make it clear that I loved going to the dump. There was so much stuff there! Once in a while we would find something my dad would consider worth saving – this was recycling before it was cool. And we would take home a piece or two of someone else’s discarded junk. Things like an old percolator coffee pot without a lid or a mostly functional chair that maybe got backed over by a car.
These days, the dump is a way different experience. First of all, you have to drive a ways from Huerfano County to find a dump – a legal dump anyway. And when you get there, there is a guy who looks over the load and measures it and tells you if they’ll take your junk. And then you are directed to a spot where there is an enormous bulldozer and you hope the dozer guy sees you and doesn’t plow you down into the landfill – which, by the way, stinks. So you’re pretty sure no one would climb in there to rescue you. And then you get to unload your junk before the bulldozer catches up to you. And you also hope you do not drive over a nail and get a flat tire, which would cause you to spend fifteen more minutes in this stinky dump. And if you pause while unloading to look around, you’ll notice there is absolutely NOTHING of any interest and NOTHING you would like to take home with you. Today’s junk is a lot more junky.