Dick's Blog

“The Dump”, Chapter 34 of “Inside and Outside: Messages of Hope from a Lifelong Hiker and Depression Survivor”

IMG 0857


Welcome back to my free memoirs. You can access all the chapters in my first memoir, “Hiking Out”, and all chapters posted to date of my second memoir, “Inside and Outside”, by going to my BLOG and clicking on the appropriate book title at dicksederquist.com  

This Week, “The Dump”, Chapter 34 of “Inside and Outside ”(one man’s junk is another man’s treasure)

 Next Week, “Silent Movie”, Chapter 35 of “Inside and Outside (I hate violence, and this could escalate)


When I wrote this tribute to my father in-law, my town dump didn’t charge for the stuff I brought there. Now days, they charge me $20 regardless of what I have in the back of my Subaru, even a bag of leaves. The magic of a trip to the dump is gone. Good thing, my father in-law isn’t around to see this. He would be disappointed that the old barter system based on friendship and camaraderie no longer works in today’s society. The magic may be gone, but I still have the fond memory of this story. I also still have this continuing loyalty to Subaru’s. At least, something’s don’t change.

The Dump

I love going to the dump. My waste service won’t take leaves, vegetation and other articles that won’t fit in the big plastic thing with wheels that I roll out to the curb each week. I’m at a loss for words for whatever you officially call this vessel, a garbage can with wheels. It’s enormous. You could hide a body in there. Strange, but I never heard about that happening. Fortunately, I have a Subaru Outback, which I can load with stuff for the dump. This is a special place that my town runs, allowing me to get rid of things I don’t want. There are people there who love to see me arrive. I make their existence possible. Without this facility, I would be buried in leaves, vegetation, and stuff that, if not recycled, would turn my property into a dump.

The place holds special memories for me. My father in-law also loved his dump and recycling center. Like me, he got rid of the things that wouldn’t fit into his trashcan. It’s funny, although he was constantly cleaning, after he passed away, we had to get rid of more junk that he had squirreled away. One reason is that he never returned empty-handed from the dump. There was a lot of good wood, fixtures and furniture that could be fixed up. He couldn’t understand how people could throw such good stuff away. As they say, one’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Some of the refinished tables in my house came from my father in-law’s dump.

Most important, his visits to his dump were a special sojourn. He knew everybody by name, and they knew his. When he died, I’m sure there was someone from the dump at his memorial service. He was their best customer. If it wasn’t for the decorum his wife expected, he would have had all his friends at the dump back for a beer. That didn’t keep him from leaving a few bottles there for his friends. My children remember my father-in-law’s dump. Often, they would ride with him on his weekly visit. It was a special treat, sitting next to their grandpa, and listening to him talk. He was a pied piper, his good spirits and laughter, his magic flute, entrancing all to follow him.

When I fill up the Outback, the feeling hits me. It’s almost like going to church, where you off load your mental junk for the week. Cleaning house has the same effect. Getting rid of junk rids your world and mind of useless clutter. Maybe that is why he was so happy. He left all his cares and worries at the dump. He recycled the good spirits he found there. He brought smiles and joy to the people who worked there. To him it was a holy place. Here they used the barter system, a smile for a smile, a good word for a good word, a neat little end table for a stack of old newspapers. This morning, my wife pointed out a few chips on the antique green table in our family room. My grandchildren, the children of my children, are always playing there. He fixed up and refinished that table. I have some dark green paint somewhere. Someday, my son or daughter will own that table, no longer junk, but restored to a new life, a memory of him.  

Dick Sederquist is a retired engineer, engineering consultant, writer, author, hiker, motivational speaker and cancer and depression survivor. Dick suffered an emotional breakdown 35 years ago, realizing that he had been depressed all his life. That started his long journey back to mental health and happiness. Dick writes motivational and inspirational nonfiction short stories and essays for general audiences on many topics including life, family, humor, spirituality, nature, science, his volunteer prison experiences, hiking and travel adventures, depression, overcoming adversity, and what the author refers to as “home improvement”, healing the mind and body we live in. Dick and his wife have been married 50 years; have two grown children and four grandchildren, all part of a close-knit, active, caring and loving family. The whole family believes that the greatest gift in life is helping others.


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Sunday, 20 May 2018