Garbage Picker

Garbage Can

I remember the first time that I ate out of a garbage can. 😯 It was in the late 1940s, and Kellogg’s was trying a new marketing scheme.

Variety-Pack

Their cereals came in small and large boxes, but they began offering them in tiny, serving-size boxes. The equivalent of a large box would get you 10 or 12 of these, all wrapped together. The fronts had an H-shaped perforation. You peeled back the two cardboard wings, and did the same with the waxed-paper liner inside. You poured milk right into the box, and ate the cereal right from it.

This was one of the first “labor-saving devices.” Working mothers didn’t have bowls to wash. The extra labor and packaging material made them more expensive, so they didn’t do well in my cheap, dirt-poor little town.

Kellogg’s produced them in every flavor that they made. They also made a ‘Variety Pack”, with some of each. The tiny, independent grocery carried them for a while. It sat beside a laneway to another street. There was a garbage pail right beside – not a dumpster – nobody could afford to throw that much away. Somehow, one of the sampler packs came apart. Unable to sell it, the grocer just gathered the pieces up, and dropped it into the garbage pail beside his building.

Finally dry from his immersion in the Niagara River, yours truly was busy skulking and gallivanting around town. I approached the store by the alley, from the next street. I stopped to look in the garbage pail, and couldn’t believe it. Someone was throwing perfectly good food away. There were little boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Vim, Rice Krispies, All Bran, Shredded Wheat, Bran Flakes – several types that I’d like to try, but couldn’t afford to purchase a whole big (or small) box, in case I didn’t like them.

They were all “Good-For-You” cereals…. and all that Bran! You wouldn’t be just regular – more like steady. I don’t remember any Sugar Corn Pops, or Sugar Smacks, or Sugar Anything. Sugar hadn’t been invented yet – or perhaps it wasn’t off wartime rationing. That’s why old people like me are sour and bitter. They had nothing sugary to sweeten them up.

The pail was relatively new and clean. The bulk package cardboard was pristine. The small inner packs touched only it. I dug out most of the tiny boxes – as many as my little arms could carry, and quickly headed for home with them. I told my Mother that ‘someone was throwing them away,’ without mentioning the garbage can, and had a bowel-cleansing assortment of breakfasts for almost two weeks.

Even today, there are individuals and groups – and not just homeless people – who regularly comb supermarket dumpsters for food deemed unsalable – packaged meats, cheeses, bread products, even fruit and vegetables, past their ‘Best Before’ dates. They eat it themselves, or donate it to food banks, to be used today. It saves money, and reduces the amount going to landfill sites.

The son works a midnight shift. He leaves work at 7:30 AM, and reaches the nearby supermarket just as it opens at 8:00, to purchase a discount copy of the Toronto Sun newspaper. He has learned to look at the other discount racks. Stock that will be thrown out tomorrow, is on sale today, for 20%, 30% – 50% off. He often comes home with half-price ground beef, steaks, roasts, bread, and buns. What doesn’t become his 9:00 AM ‘midnight snacks’, or goes into his little apartment-sized freezer, often makes its way into the household larder.

Reduce Reuse Recycle! Waste not – Want not. Do you do anything like this, to aid your economy, and the Ecology?

Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”

Beating The System

A couple in their late 60s went into the doctor’s office.  He said, “What can I do for you?”  The man said, “Will you watch us have intercourse?”  The doctor was puzzled, but agreed.  When the couple had finished, the doctor said, “There is nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse.”  He charged them $50.00, and they left.

This happened several weeks in a row.  The couple would make an appointment, have intercourse, pay the doctor the $50, and leave.

Finally, the doctor said, “What exactly are you trying to find out?”  The man said, “Oh, we’re not trying to find anything out.  She’s married, so we can’t do it at her house.  I’m married, so we can’t do it at my house. The big hotel downtown charges $100 for a room, and the fancy one by the airport wants $125.  We do it here for $50, and qualify for a $45 rebate from the Government Health Plan.

***

ME MUDDER

When my prayers were early said
Who tucked me in my widdle bed
And spanked my ass till it was red?
–ME MUDDER—

Who lifted me from my cosy cot
And set me on an ice cold pot
And made me pee if I could or not?
–ME MUDDER—

And when the morning light had come
And in my crib I dribbled some
Who wiped my tiny little bum?
–ME MUDDER—

Who did my hair so neatly part
And pressed me gently to her heart
And sometimes squeezed me till I’d fart?
–ME MUDDER—

 

***

Dear Mom and Dad:

It has been a couple of months since I left for college.  I have been remiss in writing, and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness.  I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down.  Okay?

Well then, I am getting along pretty well now.  The skull fracture and concussion i got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed.  I only spent two weeks in the hospital.  I can see almost normally now, and only get those sick headaches once a day.

Fortunately, the fire and my jump were witnessed by the attendant at the gas station near my dorm.  He was the one who called the Fire Dept. and ambulance.  He also visited me at the hospital, and since I had nowhere to live, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment.  It’s really just a basement room, but it’s kind of cute.  He is a fine boy. We have fallen deeply in love, and are planning on getting married.  We have not set an exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.

I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents, and will love taking care of the baby as I continue my schooling.  The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend had some minor infection which prevents us from passing our premarital blood test, and I carelessly caught it from him.  It will clear up soon with the daily penicillin injections I am taking.

I know you will welcome him into our family with open arms.  He is kind, and although not well educated, he is ambitious.  He is of a different religion from ours, and I know your oft-expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his skin is a little darker than ours.

His family background is good too.  I am told that his father is an important gun-bearer in the village in Africa from which he comes.

Now that I have brought you up-to-date, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire.  I did not have a skull fracture or concussion.  I was not in hospital.  I am not pregnant.  I am not engaged.  I do not have syphilis, and there is no “schvartze” in my life.  However, I did get an F in History, and an F in Science – and I wanted you to see these marks in proper perspective.

 

Your loving daughter,

 

__________________

 

Mace23042014