…Garbage Out…

Garbage
Image by pboyd04 via Flickr

“Well, to be honest, I threw it away.”  This was my mother’s response, when my father looked at the paper in his hand and asked, “This is just the stub, where is the check?”

My father had gotten paid on Tuesday, as usual. He gave my mother the check, as usual.

We usually went grocery shopping on Tuesday nights, but my father had worked overtime, and decided we would go shopping Wednesday night instead.

Meanwhile, my mother, in an attempt to clean up clutter around the house, had discarded the check and kept the stub.

“When did you throw it out?” my father demanded.

“Yesterday,” came the meek reply.

“Alright then, everybody outside. We are going through the garbage until someone finds it.”

We grabbed some flashlights, and put on our gloves. Of course it was winter. We emptied the garbage bags one by one onto the frozen ground and sifted through the smelly trash. Tissues, food scraps. Can this be any more disgusting, I thought to myself. The dog happily accompanied us, sniffing wildly. “No, you keep your nose out of here,” I explained as I pulled him by the collar and put him back in the house.

Bag after bag was emptied, examined, and re-bagged. Finally, my brother found something. “Is this it?” he asked, as he held it up by the corner.

My father ran over to him. “Yes, that’s it! Good work.” We examined the check. It had been in with a bunch of other papers, so thankfully there were not too many food stains on it. And it didn’t smell as dreadful as we had anticipated.

“Okay, now, this is a check, and this is a stub,” my father mocked.

My mother’s face turned red. I felt sorry for her. But there was nothing I could do.

From that time onward, my mother never threw out thecheck— or the stub.

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