Framing the Dialogue

Diggin It

Sportin that fashionable bolo in first grade

When I was growing up I had this crazy aunt and uncle.  Aunt Georgean and Uncle Andy weren’t really crazy they just danced to a different drummer.  They drank, they were loud (at least she was), they laughed and were fun enough to make the more stoic in the family uncomfortable.  Aunt Georgean and Uncle Andy lived like in another country…Scottsdale Arizona.  I had no idea about Scottsdale, but I seem to remember that Uncle Andy had some health issues and the climate there was good for him.

We only saw them occasionally and when they visited they always brought gifts.  Several years in a row my brother and I received those bolo ties as gifts.  I know know that I had at least on class picture in one of those ties.  Just what every young kid likes…to be different.

Then one year my parents sort of freaked out when they brought me a leather whip.  I have know idea what a grade schooler would need a whip for, but I was like the greatest thing ever.  My parents, of course, took it from me as soon as Aunt Georgean and Uncle Andy left, but after whining about it they gave it back with a list of rules.  You know like only outside…don’t whip anybody…the basics.  I still remember being outside working to make that whip crack.

One thing I still remember about my aunt and uncle was after they had a few beers the stories would come flowing forth from their mouths.  As a kid I loved hearing about what adults did.  One of my uncle’s quirks that seemed to particularly tick off my aunt was he week scavenger jaunts.  Apparently he’d strole the neighborhoods when neighbors put out their stuff (I know trash, but he is long deceased and wanted to cut him a break) and often brought “goods” home to their garage.  I think my aunt talked about that every time they visited.  It did seem a bit unseemly…until…

I’ve started a walking program so I am out and about most evenings and on Sundays the “stuff” makes its way to the curb.  You can tell a lot about a family by what’s in their recycle bin.  I also didn’t know that you could recycle pizza boxes.  One evening I got a later start and it was pretty dark when I got out on the mean streets of suburbia.  As I was finishing my walk I noticed that one of my neighbors had an awful lot of trash (i.e. “stuff”) that evening.

Something caught my eye leaning against an old bookcase.  I didn’t place it at first, but as I thought about the object I realized that it was a digging bar.  I couldn’t believe that they were pitching something like a digging bar.  If you had ever attempted to dig through hard soil or clay interspersed with rock you’d appreciate a digging bar (available at Amazon for about $40).  I was actually done with my walk, but the digging bar called to me.  It was probably broken or the tip was gone, so I circled around, walked past the house and circled back again.  Luckily no one was about nor did any cars come while I neared.  I held my breathe, scooted over to grab the bar, and rapidly retreated to my driveway before anyone could see me.

That’s when I remembered Uncle Andy.  I hadn’t thought of him for fifteen years, but there he was back with me.  I finally understood his “hobby” and appreciated his spunk.  He was just ahead of his time as a recycler.  My digging bar was in perfect shape and I still cannot understand why you’d throw it away.

Even though I still walk the dark streets of suburbia there has been no more acquisition of “stuff” on my part.  I am content with my digging bar, though I hope I don’t have a need to use it any time soon.

PS  Don’t tell my wife!

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