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Making the best of a warm winter day
Thatchmo at the Dump
THATCHER seems to enjoy the family’s weekly trip to the town dump as much as the rest of the family. It was “something to do” on a warm winter day.

GAYS MILLS - When you’re living the rural life, dump day on a sunny February afternoon is a pretty big highlight. 

Usually, this excitement is reserved for Chasca. He who drives the big truck and the sport wagon that can fit all of the amassed garbage and recycling in it every other week. But once in awhile, ole mama and the kids get to load up and help take out the trash. 

It’s apparent that I’ve been cooped up a little too long during this late, but long, winter. Because when I was given the opportunity to haul garbage down the glacier that is our driveway and pile in the little red car, I was raring to go. Even Thatcher responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” When asked if he’d like to go, and dropped the big pile of twigs he gathered to construct a tree house.

The particularly slow way Chasca drives up our hill, when loaded down with garbage seemed to lull little Bopper momentarily into a cooing near sleep. A far cry from his most recent demanding squeals, endless giggles and shouts of “MEEM MEEM DAH DAH!”

Probably the most particularly entertaining aspects of the dump is the pile of stuff that people want out of their house, but still has too much life left in it for the landfill. This said pile, is probably one of the reasons that Chasca sneaks off to the dump without me. I’ve been known to find some pretty awesome stuff, but also stuff that certainly needs to stay at the dump. 

One such epic score was a plastic climbing structure for the yard. It’s a classic kids toy that looks like it has been constructed with waffle blocks and it has a slide. It certainly had seen some play, with parts of the plastic cracked, including the slide, but when I was zipping down Freeman Road and saw that puppy in all its glory I turned around and managed to shove it into my Saturn. Thatcher has gotten quite a bit of play out of it (most recently turning it into his ‘clinic’ where we go for band aids, stickers and candy treats), and I’m sure once Waylon is ready, he will too. 

Alas, this dump run wasn’t as thrilling as some I’ve been on. At least for me in terms of treasures. The highlight of my experience was I wasn’t the one who had to heave the garbage bag full of stinky diapers into the stinky dumpster. I was on recycling patrol. Again, winter is getting long because I stood for an overly long time observing other people’s recycling in awe of what my neighbors are drinking (primarily, Mt. Dew, Budweiser, Pabst, White Claw and our offering New Glarus Cabin Fever.) 

Thatcher, per usual made the most of the stop at the dump and quickly demanded to be released from his car seat.  Dressed in his “big ole stompin’ boots” and a flannel shirt, he took off for the deep ruts filled with muddy water in the middle of the lot.  The sounds of beer bottles clanking together coupled with his splashing and squeals of delight, Chasca’s opening and closing up dumpster lids, followed by an angry strapped in Waylon’s disgruntled screams of  “MEEM MEEM MEEM!” momentarily turned into some kind of hillbilly version of STOMP. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a loud meow from the neighborhood dump kitties. 

As Chasca scraped up a little bucket of gravel for our icy driveway, Thatcher took off running to the puddles once again. “You know, I really love the dump. I’m having the greatest time here! Let’s come back again tomorrow.” 

By the time you’re reading this, a projected snowstorm will have probably buried us all in for another round of shoveling and spreading salt and we’ll be back in the throes of winter. But, the one sunny, muddy, warm day playing at the dump should be enough to keep us going at least until the next big thaw.