One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure | North Jackson Press (2024)

October 22, 2021|0 comments

Category: Opinions

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By Bill King

There is an old proverb that says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasures.” That certainly seems to be true in my neighborhood. The trash is put out at the curb for pickup on Thursdays, but the treasures are put out for pickup the day before. On Thursdays, the city picks up our household garbage. It really is trash. On Wednesdays, they pick up the big stuff, which is sometimes the good stuff. This pile, which is too big to put in a can, may consist of limbs collected from the yard, lumber from a deck or building that’s been torn down, an old piece of worn-out furniture, or a broken-down piece of equipment. In the Works of Thomas Brown, dating back to early 18th Century London, he said, “One man’s oversight is another man’s gane.”
One of my neighbors and I share a designated spot where we put our Wednesday pickup stuff. Early on, I noticed something magical about that spot.
Often, when I put things out there, they quickly disappeared before the city picked them up. One day, literally minutes after I had put out a large piece of exercise equipment, I saw a man loading it on the back of his truck.
When I walked out there, he asked, “You don’t mind if I take this, do you?” I replied, “Oh certainly not, if you will come help me carry a swing frame to the street.” When we got to the street with the frame, he said, “Just put it on my truck, and I’ll haul it off for you.” I’ve seen his same red truck out there many times since then. I’ve gladly watched my old broken-down television, pressure washer, push mower, weed eater, and other items disappear. I’m glad someone can use them.
Lately, I’ve been the one picking up another man’s trash. One of my hobbies is woodworking. I love to build and even rebuild furniture. With the price of wood these days, this has become an expensive hobby, but I have realized that people throw out some good wood and building material. A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors put an old lawn bench out for pickup. I must admit, it looked like it had seen its better days. Most of its dark-gray paint had peeled or worn off. The wood on the armrests had rotted, as well as some of the bracing underneath the seat. It had a lift-up table in the middle of the seat, which still worked, but the seat slats on each side of it had fallen in on one end. When I saw it, I thought, “There’s enough left here to work with.”
I cut out new armrests and new bracing for underneath. I reattached the seat slates to the new wood. I wiped off all the dirt and grit, sanded it down to bare wood, and gave it a couple of fresh coats of midnight blue enamel. It looks almost as good as new. If you would like to see, there are start to finish pictures on my Facebook page.
I just hope my neighbor doesn’t ask for it back! I would hate to sell him his own bench!
That old bench, and other trash-to-treasure projects, remind me of myself, as well as many other people. There was a time in my life when I was a mess. I was spotted and soiled by the sins in my life and probably looked like something some people might say was trash. They might have said I wasn’t redeemable and could never be repaired, but thank God; he wasn’t willing to throw me out like trash.

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure | North Jackson Press (2024)
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