Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Ditch Gods

While driving to Salem for a speaking engagement on Monday I noticed a bunch of highway flotsam and jetsam on the side of I-5. Actually, I suppose you can’t call it flotsam and jetsam unless it is in a water way, so let’s just say stuff that fell off trucks, though I think a more romantic name is in order.

Had the traffic been lighter I would have been tempted to pull over and pick up that shinny Estwing hammer, the Coleman cooler and the Imperial gallon gas can that I saw between Willsonville and Salem.

This brought to mind the story of the Ditch Gods. When my wife first moved in with me she would go for walks everyday. One day she brought home a kitten. She said she found it in the ditch on the side of the road. Later that week she found a television in the ditch. She brought it home for her kids to take apart, but when we plugged it in it worked perfectly well so we let the kids have and use it in their room.

After that, anything good we found in the ditch we considered as gifts from the Ditch Gods. We found perfectly good lumber, hardware, 5 cent deposit cans and bottles. One day I was driving home and I passed her while she was on her walk. She saw me coming and as I got closer she held up something fro me to see. She had captured a snake. “Look what the Ditch Gods are offering us today.” I told her no, she could not bring this Ditch God gift home. The snake needed to remain where it presently lived. She reminded me that if we refuse a gift from the Ditch Gods, we may be cut off from future gifts. I felt it was a risk we needed to take.

Since then we found a variety of other things in the ditch. We found a calf that we returned to its mother on the other side of the fence. We’ve since found bungi cords, a grain scoop, horse shoes, chains, good rope and other things. The Ditch Gods are still providing. One day I hope to rescue a shinny new back hoe or at least a Bob Cat loader.


Blogger Beth said...

Don't set your sights too high - you might piss off the Ditch Gods.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

My big ditch haul was a Playboy when I was 8.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a 100.00 bill. I took it to the bank swearing it was a fake, but it was real. Whoo the Mighty Ditch God

7:28 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Man, I'm walking in the wrong places.

8:56 AM  
Blogger weese said...

is this the same ditch? or do you find things in ditches all over the place?

9:08 AM  
Blogger Matawheeze said...

Do you also bring home the plastic garbage bags and other trash littering the landscape of the Ditch Gods? They can use all the help we are willing to lend in cleaning the roadsides.

9:22 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, maybe the Ditch God is actually Santa doing off season work. I've been good, so I'm trying to get added to the list.

Lori, and you've never been the same since.

Anon, Good on you!

Syd, somehow I don't see you ditch walking, maybe 4 wheeling...

Weese, I mind only my local ditches.

Matawheeze, we sure do, except we use paper bags. Also, about fifteen years ago I created the Another Green World Scholarship at our local community college that was totally funded by deposit bottles and cans that were collected from the sides of the road. It was intended for anyone doing environmental studies. I ran it for about three years, but gave it up because there are people out here that make a living from collecting deposit cans.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

We got Dopey Ditch Gods I guess. Don't seem able to leave much other than an occasional beer can, beer bottle, or small paper bag:(

5:21 PM  
Blogger Quasi said...

You were correct about the kitten AND the snake! I’d like to tell you that I’ve written a scathingly funny book, The World Is Your Litter Box, which will be out in May. The book is cleverly disguised as a cute cat book so humans will buy it, but is, in fact, a how-to manual FOR cats. Check it out on my website,

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different countries different customs I guess...up here the tradition is to wait until what is called Big Garbage Day when every six months or so, you can pile pretty much anything (cept for toxic waste - we import that from New Jersey) at the end of your driveway. The crows then take a back seat to the people cruising for perfectly good stuff prior to garbage truck pickup. They pick it up and six months later, you can find it again at the end of their driveway.

And as an aside, Canadians do tip their sanitary engineers. It just takes the form of cans and bottles piled separately so the garbage guy can cash them in. Seems the local restaurant will accept tips in the forms of cans too. Ahhhh...the benefits of a shallow gene pool...


5:09 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Mike, the gifts get better with the more you take.

Quasi, we kept the kitten. Poor thing.

Moose, We did that when I lived on the East Coast. Yep and we also tipped the collectors. I don't use a collector. My annual trip to the dump costs less than two months of trash collection.

7:22 AM  

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