Karma Has No Deadline

The recycling centre near us is inappropriately named Chelson Meadow conjuring up flower strewn pastures and whilst it is situated on the outskirts of Saltram House the stately home, which was used during the filming of the 1995 Sense & Sensibility, there is nothing very beautiful or fragrant about an industrial yard surrounded by cars and enormous waste skips.

I’d loaded up the car one afternoon as my Dad had been instructed by my mother to have a clear out in the shed and I wasn’t totally surprised by the amount of junk he had stored waiting for a moment when it would all come in “useful”. As much as I admire his optimism there was never going to be an opportunity other than an apocalypse when we would have the need for so many useless items.

My Dad had insisted on carrying out the recovery mission himself and I could tell how reluctant he was to part with most of it and may well have snuck one or two items back in the shed whilst I wasn’t looking. Once all debris had been safely deposited in the trunk of the car, I drove off in the direction of the recycling depot.

As I checked in with the pleasant young man at the gate, he told me to look out for the skip manned by the “cowboy” and as I drove through I easily identified the man in the Stetson leaning up against this huge industrial skip. I backed my car up to enable me to open the boot and start removing all the junk.

I was disappointed that the labourers were too busy leaning against the skips and chatting to assist me with unloading lots of scrap metal but could still break off from their conversation to bark numbers at me to ensure that I dumped the right items in the appropriately numbered skips. Tired from another early morning and full work shift, I struggled to unload most of the scrap metal and as I dragged a large slightly water damaged mirror over to the skip, one of the older chaps, who’d watched my herculean efforts, put his hand up to prevent me from throwing it into the skip and told me to rest it safely against the side as it “looked interesting”. Being a shrewd girl, I realised at once that this canny old man was planning on reselling the item and had I not wanted to tempt the fates with seven years of bad luck, I would have let it slip from my fingers to the bottom of the dumpster with a sarcastic “oops”.

I jumped back into the car less than impressed with the whole experience and slamming the car door shut headed off home, stopping at the entrance gate to shout out to the young man who had greeted me earlier.

“Actually you got it wrong love; they’re all a bunch of cowboys”!

And as I drove off into the sunset I suddenly remembered how the mirror became water damaged recalling that it had been dispatched to the shed when Hobo had taken an instant dislike to his reflection and instantaneously decided to mark his territory as all good cats do. Needless to say I laughed all the way home and couldn’t help but think that in the end, we did indeed get our just rewards.

dad 003

25 thoughts on “Karma Has No Deadline

  1. You are far to nice my friend. I would have said something to the bums. First I would have asked politely of course for their assistance since they seemed to have nothing to do but stand about doing nothing but gossip. Then I would have begun talking about their usefulness there and elsewhere in life.

    Another engaging story!


  2. Dallas, I would have slipped the mirror “by accident” – and I think 7 years of bad luck would have been on his account. *smile – great story !!!!!!!


  3. Your story reminded me of my dad, who loved to head out to the recycling centre. He would usually come back with more than he took out. He was on first name basis with all of the thrift shops and the used bookstores. We live in a throwaway world, but our parents knew the value of an old blanket and comfortable shoes. They understood the difference between quality and quantity. Buying lots, even at cheap prices, was not their style. And they knew that one day, someone would be able to use what was in their closets and sheds. But generally, it would not be them, because their “stuff” lasted a long time and their needs were few. A year or so ago I read “Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture” – you would love it. Here is a quote that reminds me of your dad.

    The frugalist takes a vital interest in his tools, in his land, and in the goods he produces. He has a definite attachment to each. He dislikes to see an old coat wear out, an old wagon break down, or an old horse go lame. He always thinks of concrete things, wants them and nothing else. He desires not land, but a given farm, not horses or cattle and machines, but particular breeds and implements; not shelter, but a home…. He rejects as unworthy what is below standard and despises as luxurious what is above or outside of it. Dominated by activities, he thinks of capital as a means to an end.”
    ― Ellen Ruppel Shell, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture


  4. Ahh Dallas, I’ve missed you somehow as life sometimes gets too busy to manage. I’m sure glad I got around to a clearing out (of emails) myself since I found this gem. Thanks, as always, for the the great chuckles. My dearly departed was much like your dad in never being able to let go of any of his “treasures”. It took me over a year to clear all the stuff out so I could move to a smaller house in town.


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