Philanthropic Trash Day


It should be gone in an hour or so.

Our neighborhood has three pickups on Wednesdays, two of them are legitimate. Prior to the recycling and the trash, you’ll see a few beat-up pickups slowly trolling the streets looking for valuables–either for resale or scrap. Everyone knows this, so the more caring donors will put their items out in the daylight the day before trash-day, giving the collectors ample time (and warmth on a 4 degree day in Michigan like today).

My donation this morning was a 1979 Craftsman snow blower I purchased with my paper route money after months of savings. I was in ninth grade and a big spender with my $20 per week. Gas money was still a year away, so I decided to be magnanimous and offer my parents a deal–we’d split the cost 50/50.

It was purely selfish and stemmed completely from envy. Snow throwers had just joined VCRs, our Odyssey game system and cable television as the latest in my own technological revolution. Each device guaranteed to improve my life and lighten my workload. We had a double lot and on a 32 degree day with 8 inches on the ground, moving the heavy near-slush could be a back-breaking endeavor–and it would take me away from television and its new-found friends.

As I would spend over an hour moving the stuff, my neighbor’s son, Allen, would open the garage, cruise out with his new Toro beauty and be back inside within 15 minutes. He had an irritating way of stopping his butter-knife cut on the sidewalk exactly on our property line–my own jumbled mess looking like a black-eye beside his work of art.

I vowed that if I ever owned a snow blower I would never stop. I would go right down the street until someone stopped me. (I continued this philanthropic venture until my current neighbor asked me to stop since she was paying someone else to do that and she wanted her money’s worth.)

The Craftsman kept running beautifully every winter for the past 34 years. Even now, it still starts. Only half of its body has cracked or fallen slightly off. It’s a decided risk to the safety of all children and windshields in the vicinity. And with the growth of our own teenage boy, I’ve gotten much more environmental. After all, why should I clog the air with more carbons when I can keep watching cable TV and just send the boy out to move the snow.


About Kevin Walsh

Before creating, Kevin taught high school video productions and language arts for 25 years. He is the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His text, "Video Direct," is used in 40 states. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two teenagers. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kwteacher
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