Clean-Up Week as gratifying as ever

It’s Clean-Up Week in Jefferson, and as luck would have it, it was neither too rainy nor too cold to haul stuff out to the curb. So Kathy and I started stacking tree branches, yard trash bags, basement junk and other unwanted items in the parkings near the street so the city crews could haul them away.

The city takes clean-up items on the same day as residents’ regular trash pickup. We live in the southwest quadrant of town, so our day is Tuesday. That meant we had to have everything ready for pickup by Monday evening.

We had grandchildren’s soccer games to attend out of town over the weekend, so hauling time was limited.

Actually, it wasn’t all that limited, but on Clean-Up Week it’s usually useful to have an excuse or two handy to explain to your conscience as dark closes in on Monday evening.

For instance: “Gee, if I’d only had more time, I could have hauled some of those major items out of the basement or the garage. Guess I’ll just have to wait until the fall Clean-Up Week now.”

However, Kathy was pretty determined to make a dent in some of the stuff that’s been moldering in the basement corners for many years, so we did get a good start on it.

Some of it — broken tools, broken toys, old wire, outdated stuff, games with pieces missing — finally saw the light of day on the curb, and we could at last say “good riddance” to it.

It’s the same feeling you get when you make a to-do list and check stuff off. Or when you write the thank-you letter you’d been putting off. Or when you text or email an old friend to whom you owe a contact.

Son Matt and I are playing postcard chess. It’s a leisurely sport, since you have to make your move, write it on a postcard, send the card off in the mail and wait for the response. Most players would simply use email or phone texts, but we’re doing it the classic, traditional way.

We’ve been at it for several months now, and are only up to the 10th move apiece. It certainly gives you plenty of time to figure out your next move.

But it seemed to me that Matt was taking an inordinate amount of time to make his 10th move. I think it had been a couple of months since I’d received a postcard from him.

This week I found out why. He sent me a phone text: “I think it’s your move?”

Well, it was.

I had jotted down what my 10th move was going to be, but hadn’t yet sent it to him. He’d been waiting to hear from me all that time. Embarrassed, I apologized in a return phone message and sent off the delinquent postcard over the weekend.

And even though the much-too-long wait was my fault, I still had the adrenaline rush of “mission accomplished” when I dropped the postcard in the mail slot. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to boost your self-image.

And that brings me back to Clean-Up Week.

It’s customary in Jefferson, if you’re so inclined, to drive slowly down the streets just prior to pickup day to see if someone is getting rid of something you might want.

Kathy and I last year spotted a small plastic red and yellow push car that a child could ride in, and we took it home for our youngest grandchild to use when he came to visit. He loved it. But now he’s outgrown it, so we put it back out on the curb this past Saturday.

It was gone by Sunday, and no doubt will be enjoyed by some other youngster for the next couple years.

The haulaways weren’t all from our basement or garage. In the winter and spring windstorms, our trees had shed a significant number of branches and twigs. We spent a couple of hours raking and stacking the sticks, taking them to the curb along with the other stuff.

There were also lots of leaves that had swirled into corners around the foundation of the house, in the bushes, and everywhere else. We filled half a dozen lawn bags and stacked them near the throwaways at the curb.

Not that we’re anywhere near done. I didn’t expect to be. But it was gratifying Monday evening to view the piles of stuff by the curb that were going to go away on Tuesday.

It’s the same feeling I used to get after the Bee and Herald came off the press twice a week, and I could take one to my office, lean back in my chair and look through it. I always found typos I had missed during proofreading, but there was still that sense of accomplishment, that feeling that something worthwhile had been achieved.

I think I’ll plan to always leave a few useless items in the basement each Clean-Up Week, just so I can look forward to hauling them out next time.

Maybe more than just a few.

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161