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The Landfill

The Landfill
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
The Landfill
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

W e heaved the piece of equipment high into the air before it came to rest on the tailgate of my mother’s Ford F-150 — the brown double cab truck she lovingly calls “Brownie.” The old, rusted treadmill had seen better days, and after being stored underneath a shed for a few years, it was time for it to go to the place where old appliances and garbage go to die — the local landfill.

It was 8:30 a.m. last Saturday, and the heat and humidity were already oppressive as I and other family members worked around Mom’s backyard. My husband, Gene, and I were the “load and haul away” team. We planned to make at least two trips to the Toombs County Landfill before breaking for lunch.

We loaded an old television set that stopped working years ago (it weighed as much as a boat anchor, by the way); an expansive plastic tarp that had begun to disintegrate from years of UV exposure; an old carpet cleaner; seven big, rotten tires; a bulky plastic bed liner; some ancient stereo equipment; and much more. And then my husband and I set off on the twenty-minute journey to the landfill. We got rid of the tires first — to the tune of $35. The attendant weighed our vehicle again, and gave us instructions to follow the signs to C& D and dump the remainder of our load there, just beyond some cones.

As we steered Brownie along the dump’s gravelly road, I asked my husband, “What do you think C& D stands for?”

Lost in thought for a minute, Gene finally replied, “Charming and Delightful.”

But the landfill, though necessary, is neither charming nor delightful. We made the turn and saw a sea of refuse before us — mounds and mounds of discarded objects from people’s homes. When we opened the doors to get out, the stench slapped us in the face. We tossed our items onto the heap and zoomed away.

Fast forward to Monday morning. In the rain, my brother-in-law Bill and I loaded the last batch of junk into a pull-behind trailer, then he and I headed to the landfill for the last time. After weighing, we once again drove over to the C& D area, which I learned stands for Construction and Demolition (not Charming and Delightful). I was behind Brownie’s steering wheel, and I hit the brakes just after the turn, when I noticed a large standing of mud near the debris field. “I don’t think we should pull the trailer over there,” I said cautiously.

“It’ll be fine,” my brother-in-law said. “Keep going.”

“But look at that mud,” I replied. “It’s fine! Just pull down there next to that nasty sofa,” Bill said. And so I did, and as I drove, I could feel the wheels slip-sliding away. We got out — our shoes immediately sinking into the thick layer of sludge — and I thought, “Uh-oh. This is bad.”

After emptying the trailer and with Bill behind the steering wheel, Brownie’s wheels spun freely, spraying mud all over the trailer. I watched from the passenger seat as mud flew through the air with each push of the accelerator — poor old Brownie squealing and wailing with each try, as if it couldn’t understand why it wasn’t moving forward.

“We’re stuck!” I declared. “Not only are we stuck, but I bet this is the first time in Brownie’s life that it’s ever been stuck!”

Bill hit the accelerator again and sprayed more mud. The truck didn’t move an inch.

“We got Mom’s truck and trailer stuck in the mud at the dump,” I continued with my tirade. “We will NEVER hear the end of this, Bill. NEVER.”

Then I looked up and saw a bulldozer nearby, and from my seat, I continued from page

could see the operator’s white teeth as he laughed at us. I rolled down my window and gave the guy the most helpless, pathetic, needy look I could muster, as if to say, “Please, man, please! Can you help us?”

The driver pitied us and gave us a couple of gentle pushes to get us out of there. Once out of that quagmire, Brownie purred like a kitten as if nothing had happened.

“See, there was nothing to worry about,” my brother-in-law said. “I bet he does that all the time.”

A trip to the landfill is always an adventure, even if you don’t get bogged down. Facing that sprawling heap of discarded objects a few times each year really makes you think. Well, it makes me think… I hope I don’t have to go to the dump again any time soon, but if I do, I promise you this: I won’t drive my mother’s beloved Brownie into the muck intentionally.

And a shout out to the Toombs County Landfill bulldozer operator who helped us last Saturday. You, my friend, are a hero!

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