It’s Amazing What a Trip to the Dumpster Will Do

Written By: Dorothy Stephenson

Ever have one of those days where you just feel “blah…?” You know the feeling? Not sick. Not tired, necessarily. Just… blah…

It’s winter… We’ve all been stuck in our houses because of COVID. Normal interactions, like church, school, clubs, and extra-curricular activities, may not be happening. It’s an easy time to settle right into a rut.

And, when I get in those ruts, I definitely don’t want to leave my house. (Which makes it even worse, because if I did get outside, I’d feel better.)

Fortunately, I have farm animals that need checking, so they keep me moving.

On one such “blah” day, I was, of course, reluctant to put on my winter layers – clothes, cover-all’s, and mud boots. (I mean, it can be an annoying task… trying to successfully put on your boots while simultaneously trying to keep your long John’s and jeans pulled down and your cover-all legs and socks pulled up. And, when you’re in a yucky mood anyway, non-cooperative clothing can send you right over the edge. Seriously…)

But, I did it anyway… Because my animals needed me, and I love them. I got all bundled up feeling like that kid from “The Christmas Story” and waddle to my car. I threw some bags of trash in the back to deliver to the dumpster, too. “Might as well kill two birds with one stone,” I thought to myself with a big sigh.

Start car, back out of driveway, look over shoulder for traffic, enter road. Just getting out of the house had already boosted my mood.

I turned onto route 84 and headed towards Meadowdale – my home, my heaven-on-earth.

Our “neighborhood” dumpster is located about a mile after the turn onto route 84, and as I approached, I saw a friend’s truck there. I “blah-ly” opened my car door while simultaneously pressing the button to pop my back hatch.

“Hey, Dorothy!” said a familiar, upbeat voice. “How’s your Grandma?” (That’s my sweet, precious, almost-94-year-old Grandma Dot, who lives just up the road.)

“Hey!” I replied. “She’s doing good. Ready to get out of the house. You know her, staying inside doesn’t sit well that little social butterfly.”

My friend laughed as we threw our deposits into the dumpster.

Some more friendly chatter offered time for a few other vehicles to pull up. (Apparently, everyone had the same thought at the same time: “Let’s take the trash.”)

Out popped other familiar faces I hadn’t seen in months.

A chorus of “Heeeeeeyyyyy!!! I haven’t seen you in forever!!!” and “Oh my gosh!!! How ARE you???!!” blossomed, making that seemingly-unimportant trip to the Route 84 dumpster a very uplifting one for me and hopefully all involved.

After some brief, friendly catch-up, we all hopped back in our vehicles and went on our different ways.

I pulled back onto the road headed for the farm. The day definitely seemed brighter than before. My renewed spirit reminded me to look up at the wide-open, blue sky and take note of the majestic, peaceful place I live in. I remembered to be thankful for my beautiful cows, the blessing of being able to farm, and how lucky I was to live in a place where taking the trash can boost your spirits.

I took a deep breath, smiled, and thought: “Huh! It’s amazing what a trip to the dumpster will do.”

About the Author

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Dorothy Stephenson grew up on her family's cattle operation in Meadowdale, located in the southwest corner of Highland County. When she wasn't on horseback helping her father gather and work cattle, you'd likely find her (still on horseback) jumping creeks in her family's nearby "Big Pasture." Today, though she doesn't ride horses much anymore, she has her own cattle, land, and expansion plans for a farm. Additionally, (and with the inherited, Stephenson, entrepreneurial spirit) she owns two small businesses in Highland County - Sundance Media & Design and Sundance Studio & Productions, which houses another of Dorothy's long-time loves - Clogging. Dorothy loves exploring new places, skills, and ideas, and she intends to live life to the fullest as long as it will let her. (Oh! And she LOVES Christmas!)

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