Sunday, November 20, 2011

TREASURE AND TRASH


This is a re-working of my first two blog posts.  At the time I was dealing with the remainders of my recently deceased parents’ lives.

I ended up with the task of emptying my father’s tool shop.  I was assisted by DH, my younger brother and his wife.  The guys went through the tools and recognized some.  “Look, a chamber reamer for a diesel engine!”  “Hey, a railroad gandy’s bar.”   They rejected most implements and divvied up the rest.  Now we were left with a lot of trash and plenty of junk.  The suggestion was made to take the metal items to be recycled.  Everyone left me with the job of sorting. 

The railroad gandy was one of the things I decided to keep. The tool looks like a giant crow bar with a cow’s hoof on the end.  It’s 68 inches long, solid iron and weighs 35 pounds.  It was all I could do to lift it.  Since ancestors on both sides of my dad’s family were in the railroad business---even helping push through the first narrow-gauge rail from Ogden, Utah over Monida Pass to Butte, Montana in 1881—I decided to keep the huge bar.  I don’t know if my grandfathers actually used it.  Dad may have bought it at a farm sale, but I consider it part of my heritage.

 Later I went through the other bits and pieces.    I picked out the brass and aluminum from the iron with the result of heavy buckets of nails, staples, bolts, tools, engine thingies and unidentified parts.   The recycle place was in the next town so DH took pity on me and loaded the stuff in the pickup.  The guys at the recycling place took the bucket of brass and the bucket of aluminum and sent us around back with the buckets of iron.  There we saw a construction crane the size of a brontosaurus.  It had an electro magnet as big as a Volkswagen picking up scrap iron out of the back of a truck.  A rust covered man took our buckets of bolts and sent us around to the office to be paid.  We had to wait in line with some unwashed hippie-types who had brought in their aluminum cans.  The bottom line was:  380 lbs. of scrap iron, 12 lbs. of brass and 3 lbs. of aluminum.  We were handed $20.80 for our efforts.  That was just enough to pay for two combo meals and fifty miles worth of gasoline.  The experience was a freebie.

9 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

this made me laugh and brought back a lot of memories. my dad was often 'the junk man' - cleaning up folks' places and taking the metal in to the recycling place for a bit of money. i'd ride along with him sometimes and wait in the truck on the scale and through the unloading, etc. :)

Sarah said...

Interesting to find out about these tools and the men who used them. I like the way that song was used to do the work. Thomas is sitting in a bit of a worrying position by the Gandy!

susan m hinckley said...

Fascinating! Such an interesting thing, handling the tangible pieces of people that are left when they have gone. I think it's a truly unique experience, and any day you can get that plus a value meal, it's not a bad day.

Debbie said...

so often i think about my 2 sons having to wade through all my "stuff" when i am gone. i am sure they will just toss all my wonderful treasures.

Buttons said...

Oh I would have done that for $20. I love your bar it has a fantastic history to it and I would not have sold it for $1. the scrap guy would have given you.
I love going to the scrap yard but I must say I sometimes see things I would rather bring back I love junk and I know you know what I know you know exactly what I mean. The artist brain is a very special brain :). B

Jill said...

Fascinating bit of history there Leenie, as for your 'junk' trip - your reward will have to be a bit of empty space and the knowledge that recycling IS a good thing.

Terry and Linda said...

Terry is hauling scrap this afternoon...I think every farmer has a scrap pile...it's what they create from. Good post!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

Pearl said...

Isn't it amazing, how some of the most precious -- and in ways "heaviest" -- items are precious only to us?

My grandfather was with the railroad in Wisconsin...

Pearl

Linda Sue said...

You have quite the treasure there- oh and the gandy too. No body get's through THAT door!