Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jack Remembers -- The Mother Lode

My best friend in grade school was Leon Johnson. He lived in a small house in town, was the oldest of four sisters and one brother. When I was in the fifth grade, we moved to a farm about a mile from town. If neither one of us had to work, Leon would ride out to our farm on Saturday. Back then there was no trash pick up, so people from town would come out to the edge of town to dump their trash. There was a trash dump down the road from our farm where we could always find a few pop or beer bottles and take them to a tavern on 40 Hiway at the Oak Grove intersection called Y Not Eat, run by a guy by the name of Wayne Thompson, who liked both of us. Although some places only gave one to two cents a bottle, Wayne gave us three cents a bottle, which was big bucks back then. We could buy a Polly’s soda pop or a Baby Ruth candy bar for a nickel, and a pack of Wing cigarettes for a dime.
One Saturday, here came Leon flying in the driveway on his bike hollering at me, “Jack come quick! Somebody dumped a huge pile of beer bottles down at the dump.” I jumped on my bike and sure enough, it was a gold mine. The mother lode. We were rich. He stood guard while I went back for the gunny sacks. They were so heavy we had to leave our bikes to drag and carry the sacks full of bottles up to the beer joint. It was hot summer time and we had to stop every hundred yards to cool off and talk about what we were going to do with the money.
Wayne came out to count the bottles and wanted to know if they taught reading where we went to school. He handed me one of the beer bottles and asked me to read on the bottom of the bottle. It said, “No Deposit. Non Refundable Plastic Bottle.” Wayne said, “Boys, it’s something new. Now take these bottles back to the trash dump where you found them. I just threw them in there earlier this morning.”
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or jackremembers@aol.com. Visit www.jackremembers.com

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