Writers’ Group – February 2024

One Man’s Trash

Lee Murray

When Gilda Maxwell asked her five-year-old son Bobby what he wanted to do when he grew up, she expected to hear him say, a star quarterback or baseball slugger or maybe a fireman, doctor, or lawyer. Bobby’s dream was none of these, surprising his mother telling her, “Mom, what I really want to do is be a garbage man.”

She laughed it off as a childhood whim. Yet each week when the man from the Glendale Department of Sanitation came by to collect the garbage, Bobby would run out to the front lawn and watch, fascinated by the big truck and all the mechanics of trash collection. The driver would always wave and Bobby would wave back as the truck ambled down the street for its next stop.

His mom couldn’t understand her son’s fascination with all of this but each week as he grew older, Bobby would continue to observe the big yellow sanitation truck collect their trash. He even got to know Bill, the driver who came by every Wednesday, sometimes getting out of the truck to chat with him, even one time presenting him with a toy garbage truck that Bobby treasured.

Gilda had no money to send her son to college so when he graduated from high school, he applied for a job with the Department of Sanitation. Once he obtained his commercial driver’s license, he was hired to collect trash for the City of Glendale.

Bobby was an incredibly happy guy driving the truck, fulfilling his childhood dream, collecting garbage from folks all over his assigned route. While friends of his went on to become accountants, architects, and corporate executives, he was never ashamed of his lot in life, feeling his job was important and brought him pressure-free peace of mind.

He hoped to meet someone with whom he’d marry and have children but unfortunately his job didn’t provide many opportunities other than to say a quick hello to people on his route.

A friend of his ultimately introduced him to an acquaintance, an attractive redhead named Joanie on a blind date at a local restaurant. They hit it off immediately and Bobby asked her for a lunch date. She was surprised when he drove up in front of her home, not in a sports car or even a sporty sedan, but in a bright yellow garbage truck. Her first thought was that this is one for the archives but once she learned how to navigate getting into it, found that she had a great time with Bobby. She realized that she and he had more in common than she thought, and couldn’t care less that he made his living driving a garbage truck. She thought he was a great guy, personable with a terrific sense of humor.

Bobby felt the same attraction for Joanie and one day proposed to her on yet another lunch date, giving her an engagement ring which she happily accepted in the front seat of the garbage truck. She asked a neighbor to take a picture of the two with her new diamond ring on display, announcing their engagement with the big yellow truck from the Glendale Department of Sanitation in the background.

When they married, many of the invited guests were trash collectors also, including Bill the fellow who collected the trash at Bobby’s house ever since he was a little boy, who was truly honored to be best man at their wedding.

As they left the wedding, the new couple drove through lines of bright yellow trash trucks staged to honor Bill and Joanie on their journey to forever.

The Gift of Time

Kris Szlauko

The most precious gift in life is time.

Without time we have no aspirations, no future, no love, and no forgiveness.

No one person’s time is more valuable than others. Having time is a blessing beyond recognition. To use our time is to breathe the mercy of life.

There are people, chosen by stature and wealth, that have the opportunity to do greater things with their time, and those no matter their stature or wealth who choose to actively devote the use of their time. And those who choose to do nothing with their time. No matter where a person falls in this spectrum of life, precious time is still spent, once used.

Each of us has a limited amount of time to use, to love, to share, and to give to others.

Like the ripples in a pond, there is no end to the goodness that can be done when we extend the use of our time in service to humanity.

To commit to sacrifice one moment of our precious, limited time in our lives to the service of our fellow beings is not only unselfish but an act of divine devotion to life itself.

In finality, all humanity will be defined by the way they used their precious gift of time.