The Virtue In Hauling Garbage

I think of my father this morning. How he made lemonade no matter the stack of lemons piled against him. He was born in 1908, reached six feet four inches in height; the depth of his heart could never be measured. His father migrated to Portland, Oregon from Nordka, Russia, along the Volga River. The employment option was the garbage business. My Grandpa Miller had horses and a wagon to haul the garbage.

My father, Henry John Miller, should have gone to college, certainly to play basketball. That didn’t happen because he, being the only son, along with three sisters, had to help the family with the garbage route, given his father became ill when my dad graduated from Jefferson High School. So, instead of shooting hoops at an Oregon college, dad hauled garbage.

I know only partially what it was like. Summers I would ride along in the truck. Both my father and mother wanted me to attend college, which they made possible. A baseball scholarship didn’t hurt, but the major expense came from garbage truck receipts.

I never knew the facts, but I believed in my heart my father’s customers loved him. The stack of Christmas cards and gifts filled his front seat was verification.

Why all this?

Because Diane found this CNN article [Yes, Mr. Trump, we like CNN!] about how a garbage man saved a 93 year old woman from the Camp Fire devastation in California. I believe—doubt has no place here—that this is exactly what Hank Miller would have done.

Yeah, garbage men.

Dad, a thousand thanks for giving me life…for showing me how integrity and effort are a perfect partnership. And this Thanksgiving, as we gather in Austin, Texas, I will think of gathering at Uncle Peter and Aunt Pauline’s home in Gladstone, Oregon, where we had our Thanksgiving dinner. Ah, the sweet times. May they never be overcome by sour lemons. Never.

Here’s the CNN article that brings me joy and gratitude:


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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