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?

A To Z Challenge – T

april-challenge

This will be a DIY, or interactive post, for the letter

letter-t

Back last April, when I decided to try this challenge, I also decided to cheat (a bit). Each day, I would scan a variety of other posts, to see what words their writers had chosen, to pick one that sparked some inspiration.  Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.  This is a ‘didn’t work’ letter.  I wrote down;

Tough
Tarts
Too much
Think
Treasure
Tease
Trash
Train – (noun or verb)
Torrid – or is that….
Torpid – I can’t read my own writing

I would like to make this an audience-participation, contest-y sort of post. I invite all of my readers to choose one of the above words, or provide any other T-word.  Leave a comment, giving your word, and hopefully some kind of prompt.

We can’t rely on ‘First Through The Door” kind of thing, so I will choose one at random, and use your word and prompt to attempt to compose a short post about it.

So, what do we have for our embarrassed loser lucky winner, Johnny?

Well Bob, first they will receive my undying thanks for pulling me out of a compositional blue funk. They’ll also experience the incomparable joy of seeing their name up in lights on my blog.  I’ll even try to link to their site, so that others can know what they’ve done.

C’mon folks, everyone is welcome to submit an idea. The more, the merrier – I am.  You can’t win unless you enter.  If you don’t, you’ll just get some more;

I’ve claimed that I’m tough. I’m probably not.  It’s more like overcooked, dry, and stringy.  I just finished two of my once-a-year mincemeat tarts.  I should have only eaten one, because I’ve already had too much tryptophan from too much turkey, since I’m writing this at Christmas.

I like to think that I can compose the occasional little linguistic treasure, but it’s just a tease. Too often, it’s only another example of taking out the mental trash, which I use to help me train to write better. ‘Torrid’ must have been a typo, because I’ve never had ‘that much’ passion about anything in my life.  With my rotund tummy stuffed full of Christmas goodies, I’ll just become torpid, and hibernate until New Years comes along.

Your suggestions are welcome, because my inspiration is….also hibernating.   😛