You could hear the screaming from our house as the truck rolled into town. No matter what day it was, kids would come running out of their homes in all directions in a mass frenzy, making their way to the safe spot, a non-verbally agreed to location where our parents felt we would be safe from interference. It was in the middle of the gravel parking lot, so not exactly the safest of places but we wouldn’t bother the guys at their work.
We would stand there, kids of all different ages. The older ones stood with just as much rapture as the littlest ones, only they pretended they were supervising the rest of us so as not to appear like the children. But they were there, like they had been for years, watching the greatness happen like our moms would watch a royal wedding.
This wasn’t just something that we watched. We participated in this greatness by doing our chores. All the garbage was in the dumpster because we had put it in there, half carrying, half dragging the 13 gallon white trash bags down the hill on our way to the beach or the candy store or some other awesome adventure.
For me, the journey was pretty short, the only tricky part was figuring out how to carry the bag down the rock wall. We were one of the closest houses to the dumpster, giving us the privilege of being one of the sounders of the garbage truck alarm. We could even see the truck from our bedroom window on a rainy day — who was the coolest kid in the neighborhood on those days?
As I got older, I realized that I could leave the bag at the top of the rock wall, walk down, open the dumpster and then return to the top of the wall to throw the bag majestically down into the dumpster, rejoicing as it floated through the sky. I felt like a superhero the day I realized that, if only because the younger garbage carriers couldn’t make the throw. I had to rock back and forth a bit, like a softball pitcher, to get the momentum for a Monday morning bag toss. I only missed once, grimacing with pain as the bag hit the corner and exploded everywhere. That was not a good day.
Yes, the weekly garbage truck run was probably one of the biggest excitements in my neighborhood and definitely the loudest. There were three dumpsters in our community, and on a good day, we could run along the paths and watch all three dumpsters being lifted to the heavens and dumped into the truck. We were a tight knit community, so there were days when we could even recognize the garbage that was being dumped.
I don’t know how you all watched the dumpster, but ours would happen in complete silence. We wouldn’t want to miss the screech of the doors as they swung open. That screech would echo through the hills and we would stifle a giggle. Garbage dumping was serious business and not an appropriate time for laughter, at least in our neighborhood.
Our garbage men would never even acknowledge our presence, even as we ran after the truck. They avoided our existence in such a weird way that, even though we were in the middle of the parking lot, we felt like we were doing something super sneaky. I mean, we were obviously there, standing as still as statues, afraid that any movement on our part would get us banned from watching the greatness.
To this day, I am fascinated. I love when the recycling compressor gets turned on. In fact, I will stock up my recycling just in the hopes that I will fill the receptacle at the transfer station and they will have to compress everything. I love seeing what stuff everyone brings to Bulky Day and I usually end up leaving with something magnificent. This past bulky day, I won a hula hoop that lights up! During the pandemic, I got the BF and I lacrosse sticks and we played on the lawn for weeks. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
This coming weekend, I’ll be nonchalantly heading down to the Touch-A-Truck at the Sherburne Memorial Library. Not because I totally want to see a dump truck again, but because I want to supervise all the little kids that will be walking around with their mouths open. Because there is something oddly magical about watching Men-At-Work (a really good B movie for dump truck fans) and watching the dumpster lift into the air and then watching garbage fall from the dumpster into the truck.
Merisa Sherman is a full-time Killington resident, bartender, KMS coach and realtor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.