I am an environmentally conscious person. I have been recycling since childhood, when returning glass bottles for five cents each wasn’t just a way to make money, but a way to re-use bottles. I was fascinated by the idea that my soda bottles would be returned to the company, somehow washed, (Sanitized was not yet a common vocabulary word.) then refilled to make their way back to the shelves of Mr. Miller’s grocery.
I have to take a side trip. Skip this if you want to stay on topic. In my youth in Jeffersonville, Indiana, we had many little corner grocery stores. Often they were a converted living room with a wall removed for a bit of extra space. Sometimes they were the lower level of a residence. These corner groceries sometimes maintained their original blueprint, so like many of the shops in Occoquan, you traveled from room to room to see what was offered. Instead of quaint crafts there might be a room with bread, cereal and canned goods. These groceries were not artfully displayed, there was no fluorescent lighting, there were very few choices and if the 12 loaves of bread the grocer stocked before you got there were gone when you arrived, you had to come back the next day!
Picture the Oak Hill Country Store on Kahn’s Road, but set in a house constructed around the year 1900.
Tiny grocery stores were placed about every six or eight blocks because that’s the way we shopped. They had to be that close together because that’s about as far as you could walk with a heavy bag of groceries. Did we have fresh produce? I don’t remember buying any in those stores unless Mr. Miller brought in some tomatoes he’d grown in his garden. Some grocers stocked apples, carrots and potatoes because they were long lived, but you never found a melon until July.
I was trying to tell you about being environmentally conscious from childhood before I wandered off to the memory farm. We re-purposed items before that term was invented. Clothes were always handed down or passed between cousins. We weren’t being environmentally conscious, really. We were just poor. A walk from my Grandma’s house might include a trip through a vacant lot where we picked peaches from a tree on our way past it. I’m pretty sure it was not stealing; after all, if we didn’t help ourselves to a few, they would fall to the ground and be wasted! That worked the same for blackberry bushes and Black Walnut trees.
Growing up poor teaches you to always be thrifty and that is remarkably the same as environmentally conscious! So, it is a constant battle in my mind to own a truck. A truck is expensive and it guzzles gas like drinking cold beer on a hot day.
I have to own a truck. There is no doubt about that. In our community service projects, we often mow, edge, trim, sweep and haul away debris from our efforts. I make a trip to the Prince William County Landfill nearly every week in the summer.
I haul flats of flowers for landscaping projects. I help friends haul stuff. (It is a rule; if you own a truck you must be willing to help others who do not own a truck.)
Yesterday, my truck chimed while I was driving. It was so unexpected that I thought it was my cell and when I retrieved the phone and discovered it had not made a sound, I was perplexed. Then I looked down near the odometer and my truck told me I had low tire pressure! It is not actually the first time my truck talked to me. Once before, where the temperature displays, it told me, “Road conditions: icy.”
So, I knew it was capable of “talking” to me. I didn’t know it could chime for attention like a small child tugging the hem of your skirt! I’m thinking now I should give it a name as opposed to just calling it “the truck”. Maybe it’s enough to just capitalize it to give proper form and think of it as “The Truck”?