April 8, 2010

A trip to the dump

Over the Easter weekend, Kate, Sacha and I headed on up to Kamloops to spend time at mum’s house. The usual visitations took place, Church on Sunday and a big family visit were in the mix as well. Also, mum asked me if I would be willing to make a ‘dump run’ for her.

One of Kamloops’ dumps is conveniently located quite nearby to the house, so, with an uninsured trailer it’s not a problem to fill up a load and transport your garbage without getting pulled over for your use of a fall-apart trailer with non-functioning taillights and an out-of-date license plate.

This particular weekend, mum asked if I would go into the backyard and empty out the root cellar space that’s under our mudroom. Translation: get rid of a bunch of crap that dad had stored under there for years for no reason.

The task was a trip down memory lane, both for the stuff that was revealed and because of the fact that the guy who put most of the junk there--my dad--has been gone for three years now, coming up almost to the day.

This photo shows a pile of miscellany, no doubt about it. But it's also a patchwork quilt of family history.

The door used to serve as the exit into our backyard; it was scratched to bits by successive generations of impatient family dogs. Why dad kept it is somewhat of a mystery, but my brother now plans to use the windowed portion of the door to create a mirrored wall hanging.

The yellow buoy came out of Shumway Lake, the location of my many years of sprint kayak training sessions and race weekends. It was adopted into our home (who knows why in the first place), and quickly became a giant dog toy for the then-family pooch, Rump. Rump would grab the thick rope that was attached to it and swing it around in circles like a hammer toss. Hilarious to witness, I assure you.

The swing—homemade, with chains that would pinch your hands if you weren’t careful—used to be attached to a lower limb of one of our two tall pine trees in the backyard. Luckily, childhood disappeared before the trees succumbed to an early death, thanks to Pine Beetle infestation. To have been a kid and witnessed not only the loss of your favourite climbing tree, but also the swing attached to it, would’ve been nothing short of devastating. I could go on about the tree as I think about it; climbing to the top of its great heights in swaying winds. That was a time before my fear of heights kicked in and a time before a parent would be criticized for letting their little kids climb 80 feet into the air, untethered and unsupervised.

The GT snowracer. The property of my brother and sister; a joint purchase that I said I wasn’t interested in. Truth be told, I was perhaps foolish to pass up the investment and I may or may not have had pangs of regret as I watched them scoot down snow covered hills with such speed and control.
Jamie made sure to remind me at every opportune moment that I was not party to ownership of said sled, and thus best keep my hands off of it, which I did with surprising restraint given the impetuous nature of my age at that time.

The big white thing: a rooftop car carrier. This carrier sat atop our Chevy Lumina van for innumerable Chase family trips; the car packed with three kids, two parents, some luggage and often one family dog, and the rooftop carrier took all the rest. It's last trip was to attach it to Kate's Toyota Echo, however. The tiny car had in it: me, Kate, My sister, and Matt, her now-fiance-then-boyfriend, and nellie the dog. The Eggshell, as the carrier was known, was strapped on the roof. Tiny car, huge carrier, ridiculous image. We were using the Duffy lake road to access Whistler, from Kamloops. a few too many switchback corners at speed, and we all heard it: "pop pop pop pop woooosh" as all four straps gave up on their vain attempts to cling to the Echo's roofrack, and the carrier shot off the side of the car. Thankfully, it came to rest in a ditch, rather than the raging river we had just crossed over. small blessings. the carrier was retired permanently after that weekend, but not thrown out until now.

And the last item in the photo: a testament to the scavenger who was my father. This red and white striped tarp is actually an awning from a KFC store. Undoubtedly, when one of his stores was under a renovation phase, he probably asked “what’s going to happen with that awning tarp?” and when someone said it was going to be tossed out, he said “you’re kidding?! Well, I’ll take it off your hands”… and it was promptly folded up and stored under the house, never to be used. A heavy duty, quality tarp is indeed what it is. Could be used for all sorts of things, and now that it has been revealed, maybe it will be.

Not pictured here are a myriad of other items one might wonder why anyone would keep, but dad did anyway:

• Two saw horses, so rickety and broken down you wouldn’t dare use them for fear of serious bodily harm while operating a saw as they collapsed underneath your project being held up by them at the time.

• A collection of metal poles used to hoist our old canvas tent trailer into position. The tent trailer is long gone, I can’t imagine why the poles would not have gone with it.

• My old basketball rim, once attached to the roof of the garage; I booked a lot of hours out front of the house, practicing to be a high school basketball star (editors note: Stu was NEVER, even remotely, a high school basketball star). it was so bent and broken where it used to attach to the garage that one would have to do some welding to get it back into shape. I had no idea that it had been saved, and as much fun as it was to reveal it, it was added to the scrap metal pile for delivery to the dump.

So, with the trailer all loaded up with “stuff”, I hitched it to mum’s car and retraced the path of one of dad’s favourite weekend activities: a drive to the dump.

The recycling section of the dump has been closed recently; some woman tripped, split her face open and sued the city, so they can’t have a “used” section any more. One of dad’s favourite things to do at the dump—whether in the used section or straight out of the trash heap—was to rummage for stuff to bring home after he’d dropped off his own crap. I can’t say for sure, but he probably bought home more than he took on more than one occasion. I sure do miss that…but at least the root cellar is finally cleared out.

April 14th marks the third anniversary of the passing of Jim Chase. We miss you dad.