I know more than a little about garbage dumps. Not sure why, but as a child I remember two “particulars” about garbage dumps.
First, my mother took me to my Grandmother Miller [my father’s mother]. She spoke little English. What she did, though, didn’t need language. She would make me coffee—so strong it didn’t need a cup. She only filled the cup half-way, topped it off with sugar and cream and set it before me. But. She’d raise a cautionary finger that was anything but ambiguous: honey, not for drinking.
I got it. She’d then toast her German rye bread, lather it with butter and her homemade strawberry jam…and presto. My first experience with dunking! Wonder if that’s why when I have coffee I will want it with Splenda and Creamer. Hey, don’t fuss…a way to honor my Grandmother.
The day, though, held something even more to anticipate: my father and Grampa Miller would pick me up. I sat between them as we drove the garbage truck to the dump. One of the more fascinating times was when we went to where the incinerator was, a huge fire blazing as garbage was dumped into it.
That was my life as a child…because my father and his father hauled garbage. And then, as you hopefully can imagine if not appreciate…they didn’t have anything automated that dumped the garbage, cans sitting by the curb. Nope. My father [and all the relatives who hauled garbage…lots and lots of them] would walk in the customer’s driveway, empty their can of garbage into his own can, walk it back to the street, climb a ladder and empty it in the truck. When the garbage got too high my father would stomp it down…then tie a cover over it as he headed to the Portland city dump.
But. [Yes, this is leading somewhere…] When I looked at the garbage…I never saw a symphony. I never saw a violin…or a cello…or a flute. I saw lots of brokenness, lots of smashed cans and broken bottles.
Into that memory my childhood friend, Doug White, now retired in Eugene as a professor of health education, sent me something last week…an incredible something. It gives a whole new value to garbage…and what can come from it. Its case is vivid: Garbage in but not Garbage out.
I attach the link…please do yourself a favor and see what some folk in Paraguay have done…to take garbage and make musical instruments, then become a symphony providing something powerful, beautiful and transforming. The youth are beautiful…and the message…life has all kinds of creative options and music is really the best road to the soul…is here. For me it has been inspirational…whether or not I have a cup of coffee. The written words with the program are a sermon unto itself.