Thursday, May 05, 2011

Spring catharsis, sort of

The Rev. Linda O'Connell (left) and her crew of Chariton High School seniors who cleared debris from the Lucas County Historical Society museum grounds on Wednesday.

The garage by now has been relieved of a load of stuff that seemed like a good idea at the time, now at rest in the landfill up northeast of Attica; and the museum grounds cleared of winter debris. So spring clean-up day was two-thirds of a success story --- from my point of view. Sorry, but there wasn't time to get to the church between 8:30 a.m. and noon to load up a few landfill-worthy items there. We'll have to find another way.

Clean-up day is an annual rite involving CHS senior class volunteers, city crews, the Chamber of Commerce, civic organizations and others and it works with a high degree of efficiency.

At the museum, we rely on those student volunteers to clear planting areas around the campus of winter residue, not as easy as it seems --- especially in the area where a previous owner of the Stephens House was overcome by a passion for yucca. Those plants are hazardous to bare legs and arms, even gloved hands. But the Rev Linda O'Connell (pastor of Presbyterian churches in Chariton and Lucas) and her four-member crew soldiered on, cleaned it all up and hauled everything removed away to the dump in huge orange bags.

Board members helped out, cleaned up the terraced hillside planter --- now ready for bedding plants --- and started work in the barn --- used also as a workshop and in need of considerably more attention.

We also disposed of an exceedingly heavy 1960s electric organ that had been passed from public place to public place around town before it finally was brought to Otterbein Church many years ago --- where it expired. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, since weddings and other events are held in the church. But electronic organs were not designed for buildings where the only forms of climate control are windows that open and an old wood stove and bugs and the occasional rodent are frequent visitors. So off to the landfill it went.

I came home at midmorning to load up my own junk and haul that to the armory pick-up site, too ($10 per pickup load; not a bad deal these days when you'd spend far more than that for gas alone if making an independent trip to the landfill, some 30 or more mile away). But now the garage is even more of a mess than it was before, so I need to work on that. Sadly, there are about two more landfill loads out there.

Clean-up day isn't quite as much fun as it used to be. Back in the good old days, before escalating costs and the need to deal separately with electronics, appliances, tires and other stuff, we used to just haul it all out to the curb and crews would come by to haul it away. That also involved a good deal of reallocation rather than disposal since scavengers always cruised the piles before the haulers got there. But this works, too.

It's amazing, however we dispose of it, to be confronted by the fact that much of what we've accumulated was designed to be thrown away.

And the day was beautiful --- sunny and cool. We've already had our early-morning shower today and more is predicted.

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