dumpster diving and lighter than air

Paper bags loaded, we step into the early winter morning. The girls arose earlier to count, sort and bag the papers, but though they shoulder the big packed bag bringing each paper to the porch or storm door, Mom and Dad don’t let a ten and a twelve walk their separate dark routes alone.

I accompany the notorious morning grouch ( a younger me ) and each step squeaks protest, a cold statement against the quiet morning. Every exhale a frosty cloud, as I offer light conversation. Like the ice crystals we exhale, each word vanishes, melted by her fierce glare beneath a furrowed brow. We move from house to house, past trash cans and pizza boxes placed out the night before. We walk her route in a furious, but comfortable silence.

“You hungry?”


“Oh look, there’s a pizza box. I can check for a piece. Would you like sausage or pepperoni? Maybe they left a bagel or a french fry.”

“Mmmmph!” Warmer, behind a hint of a smile.

All the houses and cans we pass bring another menu, and soon smiling she offers me culinary advice. Each step for me still breaks through the crust of snow as it protests, but I see paper bag half emptied she steps lightly across the hardened snow crust without leaving a trace.

May you always step lightly.

28 Comments on “dumpster diving and lighter than air”

  1. I like to use humor when my girls are grumpy. Sometimes, they just get so stubborn and refuse to smile-then they hear mom or dad say something they don’t expect and cannot help BUT to break a smile-you are almost as cheeky as me 🙂

  2. russtowne says:

    Ah, c’mon. Share some of your PO’d moments so that we’ll know you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us. Or are you? ;-D!


    • billgncs says:

      you mean like the time I sent one of my daughters to her room for three thousand years without coming out?

      • russtowne says:

        Yeah! How’d that work out for you? (I already know how it worked out for her.)

        My wife and I gave up on giving long-term punishments to our children because we noticed that pretty soon the primary people being punished were us! Plus, if they figure their lives are over anyway, there is no further deterrent or threat that works. It’s kind of like the poor souls on Death Row, if they do something else bad, what more can the prison do to them?

        We learned the hard way to give short consequences that they really hated. I’ll bet you ended up doing the same thing.

        Ironically, one of the most effective consequences turned out to be to have them simply sit in the hallway without anything to keep them busy. The boredom was sheer torture for them and it didn’t take long for them to to almost anything to avoid it. What amazed me is the age range of the kids it worked on! And sleeping wasn’t allowed. The time started over again if we caught ’em sleeping. We were mean, awful, parents back then. Somehow they all survived it and became wonderful adults despite our best efforts. ;-D!


        • billgncs says:

          Russ, I can’t figure out how my kids got so hard headed ( laughing ) – I remain convinced parents do the best they can, and kids are OK in spite of us.

  3. TheOthers1 says:

    I echo the “good dad” sentiment. You definitely are. This was a sweet story. 🙂

  4. emjayzed says:

    I never delivered papers but I delivered pizza! (I think I made a loss with all the speeding fines I attracted!)

  5. What an awesome experience, and how wonderful you are there for her Dad! Gosh I remember helping my uncle with his route, we walked it in bad weather but rode bikes when we could boy those papers were heavy on those handlebars! Thanks for the memories.

  6. You’re a good dad.

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