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Kindness Remembered

I jumped to the grinding of the garbage truck circling the cul de sac. Husband already had the can at the edge of the road where it leaned off-balance with its single useless wheel.

There was still time to snatch the kitchen trash, barefoot hobble across the driveway and cram the thing into the can. If I hadn’t been wearing pajamas.

The garbage truck roared fifty feet from our neighbor’s house to ours. Its brakes pumped and screeched. I peered from the slats of the blinds. I listened to the dragging of our can. And then I turned. No courage today.

In the kitchen, I filled the rest of the garbage sack. Plucked things off counters, emptied cupboards. Parted with junk. And started from the front door to fill our can that had been empty only an hour.

Only there was no can.

Not at the edge of the road. Not part way down the road. Not on its side with its lame wheel in the air.



Because it was here. Resting at the top of our driveway. Out of view. Positioned gently against our garage as if the garbage guys had valet parked the thing.

And though my eyes cannot confirm it, my heart says it is so.

Last Wednesday, my boy and I had waited for the noise of the truck. Waited with bottoms on cement bricks that line our hosta plants. Listened and waited. And felt our hearts pound. “What am I supposed to say again?” he’d asked. And I’d repeated, holding out our gallon ziploc we’d packed with homemade cookies, a pair of bananas and chocolate, “These are for you! Have a great day!”

My son had twirled the bag in his hands. He’d dropped it twice. And then he’d shouted above the RARR RARR of the engine, “THEY’RE HERE!”

And then it was my son, two car lengths behind me. Paralyzed. Watching. Scarcely breathing. And it was my bare hands exchanging a food gift for our empty can. “Have a great day!” I said. And I waved. And I’d turned to see my son was waving too.

The man’s gloved hands, tired and heavy, waved gently back. His eyes and lips smiled his gratitude.

Which is what mine were doing this morning.

The moment I spied our can.


2 Responses to “Kindness Remembered”

  1. Linda H says:

    When I heard the garbage truck yesterday morning I looked out our dining room window & happened to see the garbage man bringing your garbage can up to your garage. I thought “Wow, that is really nice of the him to do that.” Little did I know that you had started the goodwill last week when you offered the treats to him. That was very thoughtful of you & I bet he did have a great day because of a little kindness.

    • jeanne says:

      How funny! So you saw them?! Awesome. When I stepped from the front porch and didn’t see the can, I wondered if they hadn’t just tossed the whole thing in the back of the truck. A total surprise to see it hand-delivered to the garage. 🙂

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