The Lonely Garbage Can

One of my childhood memories included walking to school along a sidewalk where the snow was over my head on each side. Decades later I could not help but question the validity of the memory – surely it was the exaggerated memory of a child?

Fast forward to 2011 where I was researching the 10 worst blizzards of all time in the U.S. and came across a video newscast remembering the Blizzard of 1966 in Rochester, New York. I grew up in Rochester and that would have been just about the right year putting me at 8 years old so I watched the video.

Imagine my surprise to see archived film footage showing that the snow was not only taller than the head of an 8 year old child, but taller than cars and adults as well! Perhaps that memory fueled my later escape from the wintery blasts to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia where the sun is shining and the sky is blue for most of the year.

What prompted this sudden interest in record-breaking storms? They seemed to be escalating and targeting my sunny refuge all these decades later. First it was the five hundred year Flood of 2009, then it was the epic Snowstorm of 2011 following the first white Christmas in Atlanta since 1882.

After the storm blew through we’d been homebound for nearly a week with no mail delivery or trash pickup. The snow finally cleared enough for garbage service to resume only nobody had a clue if they’d try for a special pickup or just wait until our next pickup day several days later. We put our garbage can out in the hopes of a special pickup as it was too full for more and we definitely had more.

In the early morning hours just before the sun came up, everything was wet from the rains that had come and gone melting most of the snow. At the end of the driveway sat the lonely garbage can. It had been there for days, ever since the snow storm ended. It sat highlighted in the early morning mist with the streetlight shining down on it. Everything else was cast in shadow except for the lonely garbage can, the sole reminder of the epic snowstorm that had just blasted through Atlanta.

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