Gwen Petersen: In a Sows Ear 8-13-12
How many folks know what the interior of a giant garbage dumpster looks like from a personal inside perspective? Lulubelle does. That’s because she lost her address book. The one containing addresses and cell phone numbers of friends current, long gone and recently acquired. This fat little tome has been with her for years and years. She carries it everywhere, even to church. (One never knows when one will need to add an entry).
Lulubelle lives in the country and utilizes a communal dumpster on the county road for trash deposits.
The morning she made the usual weekly trip to said dumpster was the morning she couldn’t find her address book. Anywhere. Not in the truck on the dash, in the jockey box, under a seat … nowhere. Nor was it hiding in the house. She searched everywhere including the refrigerator (having once accidentally inserted her checkbook in the frig freezer compartment along with some frozen veggie packages).
Thinking hard, Lulubelle concluded she might have accidentally thrown the address book away when she’d made the usual dumpster trip. She remembered she’d had the book in a side pocket of her chore jacket. While heaving bags of trash, could the book have fallen into the dumpster? A possibility. Being vertically challenged, Lulubelle always stood on a footstool so she could drop stuff in rather than have to hoist heavy bags up above her head. Conclusion: Address book might be buried beneath rubbish. Upshot: Lulubelle determined to search within the dumpster.
Employing the footstool, she hooked a foot over the top edge of dumpster and slithered inside. (She was thankful that most of the garbage was captured in plastic sacks). She commenced tossing out bags and boxes. As this activity continued, Lulubelle sank deeper finally reaching a bare floor. That was the moment she realized something. When she’d crawled into the dumpster, she’d used a footstool to gain height. Now she stood looking over the edge, a little like Kilroy.
An acrobatic struggle commenced but no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to throw up a leg to hook the top edge of the dumpster. What to do, what to do. There were no nearby dwellings within earshot. Her husband, Ross, was busy baling the south forty and wouldn’t think about her until noon lunch. And it was only 9:00 a.m. And it was hot! The temperatures had climbed above 90 for the last week and a half and today promised more of the same. The dumpster was made of metal. It stood out in the open.
Unless someone came along, Lulubelle was doomed either to being roasted like a chicken in a baking pan or having her hide fried on hot metal.
It so happened that the location of the dumpster was opposite the railroad tracks bordering the river. As she stared glumly over the rim of the metal bin, she spotted a rubber raft floating along. Fishermen! Lulubelle waved. Two men and two women waved back. She shouted and waved harder. The foursome shouted back, but the distance was so great, neither fishers nor Lulubelle could distinguish words.
The raft carrying the happy, friendly fisher folk drifted on. Silence descended except for the turkey buzzards which landed next to the tossed-out garbage sacks. The birds began pecking at the sacks. Lulubelle wondered how long before they circled her with hungry glints in their beady eyes.
Then she heard a clink-clank. And along the tracks came a utility rail-link car bearing two men obviously out to check the rails for possible repair requirements. Lulubelle shouted HELP! The rail link car chugged on past, stopped and backed up !
End of story: the Knights of the Rail Link hauled Lulubelle out of the dumpster. They even helped her toss the garbage back into the bin. They did not, however refrain from cracking up at Lulubelle’s predicament. In fact, the story is bound to become a classic for years to come.
Did Lulubelle find her address book? Well, not in the dumpster. ❖