Burning Leaves: A Meditation on Recycling

Almost Iowa

leafs-800pxLast Sunday while burning leaves, my grand-daughter asked, “Grandpa, how old are you?”

I thought of tossing a number at her, but what would that do? At her age anything past single digits is ancient. Still the question lingered.

I needed something that spoke more to my era than to my years.

“When I was as short as you,” I told her, “a gypsy rag-man came down our alley every Thursday in an old wooden wagon pulled by a big lazy horse.”

Of course, the natural response was, “Why?”

“He collected rags and cans, I suppose you could say he did what the recycling truck does these days.”

I lost her when I mentioned recycling, she wanted to know more about the horse pulling the wagon, so we talked about that.

What I didn’t tell her and I shudder to think about it, is how all the neighborhood kids tied their…

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