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A Handshake And A Smile At The Dump August 4, 2010

Posted by Joe in People.

Late yesterday afternoon, I took a break from my busy work day to take our trash to the drop off station a few miles down the road. That’s one of the nice things about working at home: you can check off a couple of items from your honey-do list while taking a mental break from work.

The trash really needed to go. It wasn’t that I had a large quantity to take, rather it was the quality of trash that necessitated its departure. I’ll spare you the odiferous details; suffice it to say it was offensive. The combination of contents and extreme August heat created a concoction that could rival any smell.

So, donning some work clothes that I didn’t mind parting with if permanently contaminated with an odor and some work gloves, I set out for the dump.

Our drop off station is frequently manned by a nice older fellow whose name I don’t know. He doesn’t know my name either but we always have a pleasant conversation about the weather or some such. He’s usually supervising at least one teenager that begrudgingly helps toss my trash into the giant compactor. The teenagers are there working off their community service hours as prescribed by a local judge for some act of stupidity perpetrated by them.

Yesterday was different though. As I pulled into the station, I noticed that my normal acquaintance was accompanied by a second gentleman in his mid-50’s. “Sad,” I thought as I pulled in, ” I wonder what landed him in this predicament.”

But as I got out of my truck, I immediately realized that this was not ordinary time-server. No, he gladly strolled out to the bed of my truck and started unloading the stinky trash. He asked how I was doing and commented about the heat of the day. I could tell he had been there for a while. His shirt was soak through with sweat and his face red.

Before I left, I learned that the man working so hard in the blazing sun that August day was running for County Commissioner in my district. His name was David Romain and rather than meeting people at restaurants or banks, he was lending a helping hand at the local trash drop off station – a good place to meet a broad cross-section of our community.

I don’t know much about his politics, but I’ll do a little research tonight before casting my ballot tomorrow. I respect a man who’s willing to roll up his sleeves and do the hard and unpleasant jobs, a man who is a servant leader.

Did I fall for his tactics? Maybe. Would he have kissed a baby if I’d brought one? Probably.

If he’s elected, only time will tell if he’s any different than the majority of the politicians that “represent” us. But for now, he’s sparked a glimmer of hope in me that maybe he’ll be little different.



1. Beck - August 5, 2010

What a unique way for someone campaigning to meet and serve people. I won’t go so far as to say the tactic was refreshing since obviously he wasn’t refreshed.

If the trash contained even one of Timothy’s poopy diapers, I don’t need my imagination to try to sense how bad the smell must have been. I can only guess what the August heat must have done to accent the smells.

I’m ready for some cooler weather.

2. Joe Webb - August 5, 2010

I cast my ballot this morning, remembering his unique way of reaching out to the community.

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