Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Fred didn’t care for new trucks, or SUVs, because he thought a truck ought to be utilitarian in nature and he preferred them when they had dimpled-aluminum floors and bounced like a buck-board. Those trucks were tough and they weren’t so pretty or so expensive that a man felt neglectful if he tossed a heavy object in the back.


That was the sound he wanted to hear when he tossed pieces of wood in the back of his pickup. There was something about a truck that could take abuse without flinching that appealed to Fred. He wasn’t a cruel man, or an angry man, or a careless man, but he was a dependable hard-worker that didn’t like to waste money or time, or spend it babying an inanimate object.

Fred didn’t care much, either, for the new way people had of talking. Nobody seemed to speak simply and mean what they said anymore. Today he wasn’t riding his SUV to the transfer station, he was driving his pickup to the dump. He hauled junk to the dump and he hauled trash to the dump. When he got there he dumped his trash in the dump. He’d throw stuff into the back of his truck and let it clang around in the back on the way. Fred loved the dump. It was a place where you could see Caterpillar bucket loaders pushing piles of wood chips into huge masses, clambering up them at reckless angles. It was an honest place, the dump, and he had a real appreciation for the people that managed all that activity. Chief Seattle said that you do not judge a nation by what it makes you judge it by what it throws away. If that were the case, then America must be terrific because it throws away some great stuff.

To a man like Fred, who could make broken things work, every trip to the dump had potential. The last time he was there he found one of those old refrigerators that you opened by yanking on a vertical handle, which was also a latch, and it made a comfortable sucking sound as it opened. It was also a thing of curves and chrome, unlike those God damned ugly vinyl boxes made today. He brought it home to his shop, where he thought it would make a great addition, and plugged it in. He was somewhat disappointed that it worked…so much for his afternoon spent tinkering. Anyhow, a find like that is like landing a big fish, you don’t quickly forget the thrill and you don’t quickly abandon that spot. It was now satisfying every time he grabbed a homebrew from his powder-blue 1950s refrigerator.

Fred liked to name things and he decided to call that rescued refrigerator Seattle. As he closed the light to his shop and walked, sipping his beer, towards the house he paused for a moment to gaze at the mountain near his home. Gazing at a mountain stills the mind, and Fred McDauber had done a lot of gazing at this old mountain. Some company was thinking about putting windmills up there and he stared at it now in contemplation and sipped his beer.

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Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin