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Reflections: Something old, something new |

Reflections: Something old, something new

On Christmas Day, I stopped at the recycle drop-off facility located behind our local baseball diamond. I had two bags of stuff and was tired of hearing them rattle around in the back of my Jeep. To my amazement, the six dumpsters were already jammed full. I would have expected this two or three days after the holiday but not on Christmas afternoon! Finally, after several attempts, I found one within which I was able to make my deposit.

A very dear friend once said, “Ed, you think too much.” But as I shifted into 4-wheel drive and drove out of the unplowed drop-off area, my mind was still contemplating the overflowing dumpsters. They were mainly filled with the usual debris of Christmas morning. There were boxes that once contained gifted bikes, toys, flat screen televisions, kitchen accessories and even a vacuum cleaner.

Hanging from the porthole-like openings were wadded up wrapping paper, crushed boxes, ribbons and discarded bows, all of which hours before had adorned beautifully wrapped packages. There was even an artificial Christmas tree, leaning against the backside of one of the dumpsters. As I observed the strands of tinsel blowing in the cold winter wind, I thought that there must be an interesting story behind its early demise.

During my many visits to the recycle site I often observed items left by their previous owner outside of the dumpsters. In the beginning I thought, “Oh how nice, the prior owner thought the next visitor might find a left-behind article useful and left it leaning against the side of the dumpster.” I naively assumed that it was an act of kindness or a sense of love for fellow man. At some point, I deduced that the only reason it wasn’t in the dumpster was because the item wouldn’t fit through the holes in the side of the dumpster. I guess that also explains the occasional mattress abandoned at the site.

Along with the discarded gift wrap and boxes, were old items that the gifts had replaced. There was a worn out Hot Wheels car — well-used and perhaps outgrown by its previous owner. Poking from one of the depository holes was a broken plastic snow sled, maybe used by a successful deer hunter to drag his 10-point buck from the woods.

As expected, but against the recycling rules, I spied several abandoned television sets, probably replaced by new and bigger digital flat screens. It didn’t take much of an imagination to picture a hard-working guy, in his recliner, wearing a red flannel Christmas shirt and drinking a cold Bud Light, while watching Monday night football on his new, big screen TV. Like an archeologist at an Egyptian pyramid dig site, the Fife Lake recycle site spoke volumes to a curious writer always on the lookout for that next column topic.

Ed Hungness and his wife are residents of Fife Lake. He can be reached at or by mail at P.O. Box 57, Fife Lake, MI 49633.

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