There was a time when I really could have used a dumpster.
Instead, a Jeep truck served the purpose.
Cleaning out a home as you prepare to remodel it can be quite taxing. When you start ripping off plaster and wooden lath and then take down chimneys and woodwork and, well, just about everything, you can make several trips to the landfill in that Jeep truck.
We piled the “clean fill” high in that truck and it never failed us. We got the house cleaned out and all the stuff we ripped out was properly disposed of over a few months.
In today’s world, you call a company and they deliver a dumpster — drop it right in your driveway — and it sits there until you have filled it with everything you and your family once thought was invaluable, irreplaceable, priceless, even.
I had the privilege of using one of these dumpsters recently to dispose of things that I really did value at varying times in my life. I never realized I had five old, broken vacuum cleaners in my house, for instance. They are now in that dumpster.
Also I tossed an old 21-inch portable TV that weighed much more than I realized. And an old stereo system — the kind that were really popular in the late 1970s. They would have several components and you would stack them in an equally cool bookcase system, with huge speakers to allow the neighbors for two blocks in every direction to hear your questionable taste in music while you and your friends ate cheese fondu style.
The stackable stereo system, the huge speakers and an impressive collection of cassette tapes went into the dumpster,
It’s amazing how you realize at a certain advanced age that all that stuff you have gathered, valued and refused to part with for decades suddenly becomes dumpster fodder. But it does happen.
And, surprisingly, it really wasn’t as painful as you might think. All those times you pleaded to keep something that someone else wanted to toss, suddenly seemed a waste of breath. They were right. This crap should have been tossed years ago.
Now during this purging process, there will come times, albeit few, that you will find something that you really want to keep. You will look at it and memories will flow into your mind, bringing tears to your eyes, taking you to the when and where that you first set eyes on this gem of your past. It is something that helped define you are as a person — an individual.
That’s why I am keeping the original basketball used in the Goons at Noon pick-up basketball games at the Kingston Rec Center. In my opinion, this should be in the Basketball Hall of Fame, not at the bottom of a three-ton dumpster.
And with this purging comes a lot of emotion. Not because of the sentimental value each of the items evokes, but for much more sobering reasons.
The throwing away of so many hokey artifacts of our lives brings the realization that our journey is winding down. Which is why we no longer need these items to help us recall the days when we were young lions.
The lions are in winter now. The time to rid our lives of all those things that symbolize much of how we lived has come.
The big green dumpster will take them from here.