Monday, January 14, 2008

Season's greetings

I don't know how it goes in your neighborhood, but 'round these parts, there's one day a month that warrants a little extra excitement: Big Trash Day.

The muppers love Big Trash Day because they know there's a possibility that they'll catch a glimpse of the Big Trash dump truck and its counterpart, a flatbed carrying a mobile crane.

On our street! In front of our house! Can you believe our good fortune?

Trey loves Big Trash Day because it provides him with an excuse to pitch a wide assortment of junk that I'd otherwise cling to for life.

A broken sconce from a house we haven't lived in for four years. A cast-iron skillet that's rusted almost beyond recognition. A high chair, still bearing witness to its last meal, long missing crucial parts. A cardboard box full of yellowed notes I wrote and passed to my friends in the eighth grade.

It doesn't matter how much I whine, bargain or plead that I could fix that sconce, if only I knew how to fix things. Mercilessly, Trey piles them by the curb.

And there they sit, until I sneak back out to rescue the items I'm positive I can't live without.

Did you know that I did some of my best writing in the eighth grade? It's true.

But today, I was so grateful for the advent of Big Trash Day that I didn't retrieve one thing from the heap. Because today, I was finally able to say good-bye to the holidays. And I don't just mean Christmas.

Travel back in time with me for a moment, won't you?

It's a few days before Christmas. The muppers and I are eating a late breakfast, so late it may as well be lunch, when the doorbell rings.

For a second, we all glance at each other with raised eyebrows. We're in our pajamas, the house is a wreck and we're not expecting any visitors. Hmm. Curious.

The only way to sate our curiosity is to, yes, go to the door. So we all trample through the front room, each of the muppers desperately hoping to reach the door first, because hearing your siblings wail in defeat absolutely never gets old.

As I make my own dash after them, hoping to separate victors and also-rans before blows are exchanged, I catch a glimpse of a FedEx truck through the front window. Ah. A package. An early delivery from Santa, perhaps?

I battle through the scrum to open the door a few inches and crane my head outside, looking for a big brown box.

Nothing: I see nothing. So I swallow my pride and walk out onto the front porch in my shabbiest jammies, and this time I really look. Still nothing.

I'm starting to think the whole thing's a joke when the FedEx guy, who's just about to drive off, pushes open his side window, grins at me and bellows: "Check the pumpkins!"

Then he snickers and peels rubber.

Because yes, on December 22, my porch gourds are still artfully arranged as though trick-or-treaters could show up at any moment.

Except that, in an attempt to hide the pumpkins and acknowledge to passers-by that Christmas, it is observed here, I have laid a decorative evergreen wreath and garland atop the gourds.

As the FedEx guy has helpfully pointed out to me, I'm not fooling anyone with this ruse. The bright orange pumpkins are clearly visible beneath the foliage, and provide a perfect paperweight for the envelope he's left behind.

It's a humiliating moment. It's the moment when I realize that I probably won't be participating in BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. Again.

It's the moment that brings us to this morning in January. This morning when I actually make, for the first time in memory, my own contribution to the Big Trash heap. It's a colorful heap that includes a broken sconce. A rusty skillet. A dilapidated high chair.

And eight pumpkins, lined up beside a pile of dried-out evergreen.

Now: if I can just get my Christmas cards in the mail...


Blogger Heather said...

We had our pumpkins on our porch until they were completely covered in snow.

In fact, when I finally motivated myself to move them to the weekly trash pile, they were actually frozen to the porch. With a little bit of extra elbow grease, I was able to effectively pitch them into the trash can.

It was well after Thanksgiving, so I'm sure it was sometime in December.

I can't believe the audacity of your FedEx man to snicker at you! :)

6:05 AM  
Anonymous trabilcobb said...

I just threw out our pumpkin last week. It never even made it to the porch.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bye bye pumpkins. we will miss you - nevermind the fact that they could go right on looking glorious until well into april. excuse me while i go pull ours from the trash heap...

p.s. update on the poinsetta from last year. still going strong. the last red bloom lept to it's death just before Christmas this year, but the green leaves are still gorgeous!

2:05 PM  
Blogger life with the wisners said...

franklin, you make my spirits bright. even if it's past december. or october, if you will.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I'm even worse. I go out an pull in the stuff that other people are throwing out on big trash day.

I have a problem.

5:58 AM  
Blogger WA said...

We LOVE Big Trash day. Except we call it "Crap at the Curb" day here. About two days before the exciting pick up, people start frantically running out of their houses, loaded down with everything that they've broken in the past year. Then our street looks like a Pottery Barn designed landfill for about 24 hours. I get chills just thinking of it.

10:26 AM  

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