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Praying that the recycling gods find us worthy

Date: 12/1/2008

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Now the bulk of religious Americans believe in only one God, but sometimes I think we divide our deity of choice into subsets.

Certainly as students we sent prayers to the subset in charge of final exams, SATs and prom date answers. As adults we cluster our requests around getting a warning from the cop who stopped us instead of a ticket; making sure that drink we had at lunch doesn't put us asleep at 3 p.m.; and hoping the IRS doesn't realize we're sending our taxes a day late.

Well, I send prayers to the part of the Almighty who is charge of garbage pickup in the city of Springfield. Granted, that must be a very small part of the Supreme Being's attention, but for my wife and I it is a very important part.

My wife is the world's great recycler. She actively looks for refuse to sort into one of the four bins we have on the back porch. She carefully washes the cans and jars so the two opossums who like to forage in our back yard aren't tempted to go through the cans. She checks the bottom of plastic containers to make sure it is the type of plastic that can be recycled.

But getting rid of this stuff hasn't always been easy. And that leads me to believe perhaps we aren't praying hard enough.

We have no problem with the priests of the other trash deities. The acolytes of the Being That Is The Big Green Can take our offerings regularly and on time. Their colleagues serving the Bulk Pickup God always take our dead sofas, broken tables and cat-clawed chairs as long as we make the right monetary donation to their cause.

It is Those Who Serve Recycling with whom we have problems.

For a while we couldn't get them to pick up our stuff, even though they were picking up the cans, bottles and paper from the few other neighbors who were recycling as well. I made an inquiry and was told we weren't separating the trash properly. I was puzzled how we were to separate items in a single container and decided it had to be a Divine Mystery.

Instead of pondering that riddle, we acquired containers for each class of recyclable and every other week we bring out our bounty of offerings.

Only this past time, we were passed over.

Our neighbors with their single boxes were collected and my wife and I wondered just who we had offended: the Recycling Deity or his servants.

We brought our offerings back from the curb after waiting two days for a special pick-up but it was useless. In order to hold the next two week's quantity I bought more containers, each in the proper blue color with the holy triangle on them.

So my question to the Springfield Church of the DPW is what have we done wrong? We sort. We have separate bins and yet our offering was rejected.

I pray for answers.


The other night my wife asked me if we had missed the Jimmy's Stuff the Stocking fundraising breakfast at the Moose Family Center in Chicopee. I scratched my head and realized that I hadn't heard anything about this year's kickoff of the homegrown charity that helps needy kids and elders in Chicopee.

My first story for The Chicopee Herald was on Stuff the Stocking and the founder of the campaign, the late Jimmy Stefanik, was very welcoming. Each year it was my pleasure to try to help out spreading the word.

I was very sorry to hear the campaign has ended. A member of the committee said that Stefanik family made the decision as the campaign had become overwhelming and donations were more and more difficult to obtain.

While I respect the family's decision, I have to express my sadness that this effort has ended. It did a lot of good in Chicopee and brought together a great number of people for a common goal.

Perhaps sometime in the future someone will want to do something similar.


I'm happy to announce that Reminder Publications has launched our new Web site.

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We will be running these contests for at least three months, so each week readers are encouraged to enter for a new drawing.

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