FREE or TRASH

Free or Trash – by Elizabeth McLaughlin

Upon my return trip from the antique store by bicycle at the curb was a tattered cardboard sign that read ‘Free or Trash’. The printing appeared fine but strong. The message caught my interest, therefore, I took a capture, and decided to write a short tale on how I thought it ended up on the side of the road-side. Unfortunately, nothing remained related to the sign, though about a quarter of a mile on the opposite end of the street, I discovered a blue vacuum cleaner and receiver. . .

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It was a beautiful summer day, however, Mark could not see the bright blue sky, puffy white clouds, wild-flowers, green forested trees swaying in the breeze or listen to the sparrows chirping in the thickets. Mark’s mind was fogged and raced in a multitude of directions. He lost his executive sales job at the pharmaceutical corporation over two years ago and financially it became impossible to make ends meet. Mark worked long hours to provide a luxurious home with customized rock masonry pillars and black iron fence that his wife Darcey dreamed about owning. Both held career jobs and became able to pay off a good deal of the mortgage and thought that life would be a breeze. They decided to take out bank loans to improve the estate by adding a swimming pool, luxury patio for outdoor private parties and a pool house attached to the four car garage. Even though their friends lost jobs, Mark and Darcey continued to live with a false sense of being. Only until it happened to them, the economy along with their lives rattled to reality. The American dream became a busted nightmare. The last straw for Mark happened when he sold his luxury automobiles and then the antique Ford pick up truck with tools. He resorted to using his mountain bicycle to make trips to the grocery store. And then the taxes on the property devoured any savings along with the purchasing power to fulfill the basic necessities such as food, electricity, water and insurance. As each month went by the family was slowly being stripped of possessions, automobiles, family heirlooms and even clothing. The trips to the food pantry became embarrassing to Darcey. “This is not fair and criminal. We worked so hard for twenty years to be comfortable but now it’s impossible to purchase a gallon of milk.” Darcey said. Mark was not in the mood to listen, jumped on his bicycle and snapped back, “Remember, you had to have the oval shaped, tiled, swimming pool and were just thinking about yourself and not the needs of this family.” The bicycle disappeared down the long black-topped driveway and Mark could hear Darcey screaming back, “I looked everywhere for a job doing anything, so don’t talk to me about not trying!” At this time, nothing made much sense to the impoverished couple. Luckily, their daughter, Trish attended an international college at the United Kingdom and had no idea about the situation that faced her parents. Mark and Darcey always explained away the holidays to the fact that they would be traveling for business or taking a cruise. Yes, they took every effort to conceal their financial collapse even from Trish. At the end of the driveway a silver Mercedes pulled up to greet Mark and out stepped Dana, a very popular successful realtor from the village with Country Club connections. Her elegant fragrance was familiar to Mark. She confidently planted a exotic leather, high healed, designer shoe firmly on the ground . The scent was Dana’s trademark, and she used this to perfection as a tool to seal the deal. “So sorry the house did not sell Mark, care to relist? We could surely find a buyer of this fine property with another reduction in price. All the realtors and their clients really adored your French Tudor Manor.” said Dana. She paused, with shapely flirting leg in place, for a response from Mark and then reluctantly, slowly, pulled the bright yellow sign from the picturesque landscaped lawn, placed it into the car trunk and drove off leaving her alluring scent wavering in the air. Mark knew that even with a drastic price reduction, the upgrades, excellent desirable location, people could not afford it. And, they have run out of time. Dana brought around bargain hunters, wanting a pre-foreclosure preview or shuddered at the thought of paying such high property taxes. Obviously, they were out of market and miss-marketed for this upscale piece of real estate. Across the road Mark could see their neighbor, nodding his head back and forth, silently pruning his royal red rose bushes. Usually, Spencer, a retired physician was friendly, generally waved but instead he continued to snip at the thorny stems as if Mark did not exist on planet earth.

It was the last day that Darcey and Mark would spend in their luxury paradise gone wrong. Boxes of stuff lined the circular driveway and down to Cardinal Way. They had many yard sales, and at Dana’s suggestion even hired a professional to manage it but no one had the money to spare to spend on frivolous items. Many were found in the same situation and also lost their homes to the bank or County. Mark took out a black, fine pointed tipped pen from his camel-hair coat pocket, printed on a piece of torn brown cardboard, the words, ‘Free or Trash’. With the usual traffic the sign ended up floating in the gentle breeze, landing face-up, at curb-side. Holding hands the couple stepped back to take one last look at the house where they had years of cherished memories and then promptly vaulted into Darcey’s sisters Jeep. They would live with her until a job could be found. Mark tried to be optimistic but knew in his gut they would end up seeking living an alternative lifestyle. The household items sat for weeks with people passing by the opportunity to pick-up unique artifacts, expensive, furniture, lamps, carpets and fixtures. Then groups of poorly dressed locals from surrounding towns arrived to consume metal for scrap. Eventually the neighbors asked a town road-side crew to clean-up the weathered mess. One worker did see the worn out cardboard sign, he glanced down at it, sighed, flipped up his broom and walked away. And this is how ‘Free or Trash’ sign ended up on the side of the road.

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Fed Up Moving

Fed Up Moving by Elizabeth McLaughlin

The other day while out on the road with the bicycle taking in nature, I stopped at a crossroad and looked to the side and there scattered on the ground was a blue vacuum cleaner and stereo receiver unit. How horrible it is to find such stuff just tossed onto the side of the road.  Again, it became another interesting road-side display that I could craft into a short story on how I think it ended up on the side of the road.

Tracey worked for a local retailer in a small town and diligently kept the specialty gifts immaculately clean and appealing to upscale shoppers. She enjoyed her job, especially when the owner would permit her to use new concepts for featured displays. In order to make ends meet Tracy worked long hours and also had to bounce from one job to another  to make living costs to cover rent, food, car payments and toddler support. Tracey lived on a quaint old street, lined with established maple trees. Her favorite tree on the street had huge roots that bulged up above the gray granite stone sidewalk. It had such a unique appealing natural quality, a smiling face etched in bark. The neighbors were great and Mrs. Teabody, a retired school teacher took care of Thomas during the day and into the early evening. It was the perfect situation for a working single mother to find these days. After all the nightmares experienced in renting apartments and juggling expenses, questionable day care centers, Tracey finally found an affordable cottage in the back of the Peterson’s huge soft green painted Victorian mansion with bright white trim. A lovely family that did not take advantage of people in need of housing. Here she could feel a strong sense of security and stability that she already benefitted from for two years. Upon moving in Tracey eagerly white washed the wooden clapboard on the front porch and loved finding at local yard sales decorative antiques that added a warm inviting comfortable touch. She always wanted a garden, and planted beautiful bright blue, purple, red and yellow flowers from the local garden nursery. It looked like the perfect tiny home that one would find in a Country Magazine. Thomas also had his own nursery, decked out with a French antique wooden crib, dresser, toy box and shelving for all of his plush stuffed animals and story books.

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It was a quiet Wednesday evening, and Tracey was preparing Thomas for bed. Rocking in the chair, reading fairy tales became a cherished moment that they could gaze into each others eyes and cuddle. The phone rang at the downstairs kitchen wall telephone and Tracey gently placed Thomas into his crib to sleep. She dashed quietly down the narrow carpeted stairs and picked up the mellow yellow colored telephone. “Tracey it’s Liz, sorry to have to call this evening but I was wondering if you could open up the store tomorrow. I really need your help because my daughter Betsy has a doctor’s appointment.” Tracey sat on the Costco red metal kitchen stool and replied, “Yes, don’t worry, not a problem, I understand.” As soon as she hung up the phone it rang again. Tracey picked up the receiver slowly and answered, “hello.” On the other end she could hear static noise. “Hello, hello, stop calling here or I will call the police”, Tracey said. For weeks that phone would ring at odd hours of the night but no one responded.

The next morning Tracey woke up at the crack of dawn to prepare for a very hectic day of work. She walked down the gravel driveway toward the main street to collect the mail that she neglected picking up the previous day, and the thoughts of the extra work money would come into handy savings for emergencies. After sifting through the mail she noticed a hand written envelope with just her name on it. Upon opening the letter she read two printed words, HELLO, HELLO. “Now this is going beyond a prank phone call and the person knows where I live.” she cried. The mail collected dropped to the ground and scattered onto the street. Stacey fumbled to gather it up and out of nowhere a speeding car screeched by only to disappear into the thick morning mist. And, all she could notice seeing was a dull black sedan. The Peterson’s bedroom light partially lit up the front lawn and Mr. Peterson opened up the large pained window and screamed. “Are you okay Tracey? That car sounded like it hit you!” Tracey responded, “I have no clue Mr. Peterson, perhaps it was a kid trying to be smart. I will talk to you later and have to get to work early.” The window slammed shut and all that Tracey could think of was not to have created any bad feelings with the Petersons. After making Thomas his favorite oatmeal breakfast and dropping him off at Mrs. Teabody’s, Tracey drove her cream-colored van down main street to the early period stone clad store. A black and white police car was parked at ‘The Flying Flamingo Cafe’ and Tracey could view Vince through the window making his to go order at the front counter. Little did Tracey know, Vince was attracted to her when he places his order to her at his night shift and was still seeking the courage to ask for a date. Tracey drove to the back parking lot of the store where employees parked, walked up to the back entry only to find the metal door not locked. She decided to enter and flipped all the light switches on and proceeded to the front of the store by walking to the main reception room. Footsteps creaked the floor boards coming from the second floor and Tracey froze. A muffled familiar whistling tune filled the air, and then Tracey relaxed, yelled up the stairs, “Jasper is that you!” Jasper responded, “yes mam, just finishing up waxing the floors for Ms. Lizzie.” “Well that is a relief, I thought you were a break-in”, said Tracey.

The morning hours flew by because it was unusually busy with customers. The director of the Women’s Rotary Club made an outstanding order for the groups Derby Days luncheon benefit and show! Tracey worked hard to complete the order as directed and knew that Liz would be pleased with the sale. Liz arrived at noon and before Tracey could explain about the sales, she headed up to her office with a look of distress on her face. Within ten minutes the intercom telephone buzzed at the main sales counter and Liz asked Tracey to come up to her office for a meeting. Tracey closed the register drawer, handed over a customer purchase and headed to the elegant pine staircase that led up to the office. Liz sat at a massive intricately carved cherry wood partners desk and directed Tracey to have a seat. The veins in Liz’s neck began to bulge as she blurted out as if in pain, “Apparently I had a very disturbing encounter this morning with Wendy, the director of the Women’s Rotary Club. She explained to me in detail about the unprofessional shopping experience received today at the shop. Please tell me how this could possibly happen in my shop?” Then there was a brief silence and Liz continued, “I was totally mortified in front of a lot of people. Tracey, I assured her that this type of service cannot be tolerated and I would ask that your service be immediately terminated. I will have Jasper bring your things and paycheck.” Tracey’s mouth quivered and she could not believe what she was hearing. As soon as she opened her mouth to speak Liz lifted up her hand and raised a trembling finger to her lips. At that point Tracey got up, walked out of the room, closed the office door, quickly ran down the stairs and past a startled waiting customer. All she could hear in the distance was a sobbing crazed woman.

The route along a country road to home was picturesque maybe calming. The cream-colored van swerved around corners and then Tracey decided to pull over, get out of the vehicle and just run through a field of tall grass until collapsing. Hours went by and only upon hearing black birds cawing from a baron tree did Tracey come to her waking senses. There was no doubt that Thomas was waiting to be picked up at Mrs. Teabody’s but he would have to wait because it was important to stop off at the Peterson’s as promised. Tracey decided to pick some flowers from the front garden to make a bouquet for the Peterson’s. She knocked on the door, bouquet in hand and was greeted by Mrs. Peterson. “We were worried about you this morning, Tracey, and I think it is time that we had a chat.” she said. Tracey could only think about the horrific meeting just experienced with Liz and her knees started to tremble. Mrs. Peterson offered Tracey a cup of tea and thanked her for the lovely bouquet and proceeded to explain that Martha their only daughter was about to enter Med School. She described a great financial burden and said, “Today the costs are extremely frightening for Martha to attend a private institution and unfortunately we have to double the cottage rental.” Tracey said, “Mrs. Peterson, you know that it is impossible for me to afford such a high rent and I will have to move.”

Tracey picked up Thomas and explained to Mrs. Teabody her misfortunes for the day. Mrs. Teabody offered to inquire with friends about finding a new rental and not to worry. She said, “Just take some time off and rest dear, tomorrow is a new bright day, things will fall into place.” It is easy for people to say but to Tracey it seemed like a far off dream. At least she still had the job at The Flying Flamingo Cafe! A few weeks passed and by a small miracle so did the mysterious phone calls and a yard sale to eliminate most stuff. She decided to take Thomas with her for the drive down Route 206 to the local dump. It was quite expensive for garbage disposal and undeniably unaffordable for a single mom working part-time. Tracey came to an intersection stop and opened up the back door to the cream-colored van. The sight of Liz moving her finger to lip brought up anger as Tracey glazed over at the black receiver and blue vacuum cleaner. Tracey picked it up, tossed both items violently to the side of the road and guiltily drove off. Later that evening Vince appeared to make his usual order to go at The Flying Flamingo Cafe. He said, “Tracey so sorry to hear about your job loss, the shop closing and Liz loosing her daughter to illness. I know it’s not the right time but it sure would be nice to take you out to a fabulous night out on the town!” Tracey stood there feeling like a played fool, caught her emotions, and replied with a yes.

Ghostly Encounter and a Rusted Rimmed Tire

On my walk along the road side, I noticed that someone placed a large used truck tire with rusted brim up against a street sign. The perfect item to write a short story on how it may have ended up on the side of the road. This is part of a series about ‘Things I Find On The Side Of The Road.’ by Elizabeth McLaughlin
052017-9It was sunrise and there Frank sat at a worn out marbled linoleum topped, chrome legged kitchen table contemplating about that days work. Usually the last sip of hot strong coffee from his favorite diner sized ceramic mug always tasted its best! Being in the demolition business  presented a different challenge each day and often required going into Trenton where most of his client base resided. This particular job Jason was going to assist Frank with the removal of a dilapidated commercial warehouse and was already on his way to work. Although, Frank was a contractor he held  an intrinsic conservative work ethic rule. His grandfather always instilled into him that everyone was to be on time whenever it was his dime.
Trenton could be a very sketchy place to work and the warehouse location was far from being situated where modern industry flourished. Frank made a left hand turn onto Chambers Street and the only sign of life was an oversized rat scurrying across the broad street. Abandoned, skeletal framed warehouses were sandwiched in-between a few vacant row houses.  All scheduled for demolition to make room for future development. The old red Mac Truck made its way down a weeded, broken black top driveway, its heavy wide tires drove over parts of broken porcelain sinks and grey metal file cabinets. From a few partially glossed windows faux brown leather office reception chairs dangerously dangled and could crash onto the street at any given time. Jason stood at the entrance to the warehouse, holding two cups of coffee. “This place sure does look like the creepiest job site we have ever worked”, said Jason. Frank nodded and took a sip of coffee and placed it onto a window ledge and then reached into his denim coat pocket for a key to the padlock. And, with a stern look in his eyes, Frank ordered, “Today we have to inspect the structure and start moving some debris out, tomorrow the rest of the crew will come with heavier equipment.” Jason’s eyes almost rolled over thinking how dumb it was to think it really mattered unlocking the padlock because just a few feet away a portion of  metal siding was peeled off the exterior wall. However, Jason knew better and restrained his emotions because it would only stir bad feelings with his macho boss. Frank yanked the brittle deteriorating doors and suddenly both became unhinged, twisted and dropped with a loud bang landing at their feet. They peered upward to see a few wooden ceiling beams had collapsed.  “This building is supposed to be just debri”, Frank gasped. Jason could not believe it, huge wooden spools of cables lined the warehouse floor and at the far end on the second level he spotted a leaded glass enclosed room. “That must be the office, let’s check it out, we can get a better view from that platform”, Frank said. The rotted out wooden stairs were very unstable but Jason volunteered to be first and test its integrity. The antiquated staircase had two platforms and after arriving safely to the first it was Franks turn. Although Frank had a lifetime of experience dodging debri he still took cautious steps, one at a time only to feel the staircase swaying back and forth with each step taken. CRACK! One step collapsed under Franks weight but he was able to recover by balancing most of his weight onto the railing. Upon reaching the platform they both gazed in amazement at the expansive structure. Architecturally beautiful for its industrial days, massive wooden beams formed a linear perspective of pure elegance from the 1800’s. The sun shone a hazy beam of light through the roof-top. Pigeons circled and landed at the other end of the warehouse. “Those F-ing, stinking pigeons made nests inbetween all those iron beams.”, “Now, Terry did not tell me it was a warehouse for old suspension bridge parts. This could be part of the freaking Brooklyn Bridge”, screamed Frank! His voice echoed and bounced off the brick walls that created a massive scattering of  birds.” “Don’t scream too loud Frank, the platform might collapse”, “And, this has to be THE worse job ever case scenario that Terry pulled on us”, Jason whispered. They both decided it was still safe to continue their venture up an iron ladder and onto the next platform leading toward the office.
Oversized, dense spider webs draped the office entry. The wooden door creaked open and to their surprise a few old wooden filing cabinets with matching desks and chairs remained in near perfect condition. Time stood still for many years in this room, even the tops of desks had stacks of papers ready to be filed and a working Remington typewriter. An eerie, unsettling aura filled the toxic air mainly because of all the company portraits that hung on the mold laden cracked plastered walls. Directly in the center of the portraits displayed a photograph that stood out from the rest. It was an extremely angry moustached faced man, dressed in a typical period suit, hair parted down the center and slicked down.   Jason turned and said, “Oh man, this guy is the creepiest. Look at his penetrating eyes, Frank he is following us wherever we move, it seems.”, “I bet he must have owned the business, sorry Frank, but something is not right about his hands being mangled.” In order to gain a better view of the warehouse floor, Jason had to use his leather work glove to remove a thick coating of dust. Both turned their backs to the company portraits in order to glance out the leaded window frame when a distinct number of clicks caught their attention. “Did you hear what I just heard?”, murmured Jason. Frank replied, “Yes, it came from over at that desk with the typewriter.” A frozen tingling sense of fear overcame them that accompanied a natural reaction to panic and dart out the door. But no muscle could be moved.  Instead right before their eyes the gentleman in the portrait appeared in solid form with a grimacing worried smile and quickly faded into thin air. Their paralysis lasted for seconds but it felt like an eternity to the strong men. Suddenly, CRASH! The photograph flew off its holding nail and landed up against the filing cabinets. Picking through the pieces of glass, and overturning the gold leafed, hand carved frame they decided to peel off the thinly worn wood backing. Out fell a yellowed envelope and upon opening it discovered a notepad. Frank flipped through the pages to discover that it was a map of a bridge with hand-written engineering notes. In the introduction was written in elegant script, The Brooklyn Bridge Project.
Jason’s mouth dropped wide open in shocked disbelief. Frank read out loud a notation, “whoever finds this writ shall hold the key to unimaginable wealth!” “I don’t know exactly what we have here Jason, it needs to be studied in detail, so let’s get the hell out of here now!”, Frank said. The office door mysteriously slammed shut, Frank ran to it and grabbed the crystalline door knob. The solid door would not budge so Jason started to kick at it with his work boot. Still the door remained sealed which left the men with only one more option and that was to break the windows. They lifted up the heavy metal typewriter and threw it through the window and climbed over the radiators. It was a frightening experience and the men scrambled for the iron ladder, again Jason went first as it creaked and swayed with the bottom detaching from its brace.  Upon reaching the platform safely, Jason yelled up to Frank, “This is going to be extremely tough  Frank, I hope it can hold your weight!” Jason reached over to a pile of pallets and found a thick rope, attached it to the ladder and tied it to a beam. “This may help some, take your time.”, said Jason. Frank swung over and tightly grasped the iron ladder to make his decent, the upper brackets heaved back and forth, and with a sigh of relief, the rope did its trick. Quickly, Jason started to go down the stairs that swayed even more than ever before. He reached mid-point and the stairs just gave way, hurling Jason like a bouncing rubber band, suspending, darting back and forth over iron beams and spindles of industrial roping. It would not make for a soft landing, only to a pigeon. He clung to the railing screaming until it lodged itself between two wooden posts. Jason precariously positioned his body over the suspended railing. Jason pleaded with Frank, “you have to do something and quick buddy, I will not be able to hang here for a long time.” Frank looked around the platform and spotted the rope that was used to secure the iron ladder. It was long enough and a spools worth of roping. He made a huge thick knot and tossed the end to Jason.  Before he could secure the wooden spindle the iron beams gave way to the wood debris holding it up and Jason plunged down. The wooden spool holding the rope slid towards the edge of the platform and Frank did what he could and even placed his heavy body weight onto the spool to prevent it from moving further. Miraculously, the spool caught the edge of the platform side-wall just right and secured itself. Frank looked over the platform edge and could see Jason dangling, almost lifeless from the rope which he had tied around his waist. Jason looked up at Frank, and smiled and said, “I made it buddy. That was one hell of a staircase!” Jason was able to untie his lifeline and jump to the warehouse ground. Frank was feeling the heat, large beads of sweat dripped down his face. Jason knew it would be a complete embarrassment for macho Frank to call First Responders to save him, therefore, the only decision out of this mess for him was down that rope. Frank decided to make a harness rope, he learned about this process from the First Responders class. At the time he laughed about doing it and vowed that he would never have a need to use it. However, this training class came in handy and Frank was about to make his own primitive harness from a piece of rope and securing a military grade clip from his key chain. “Okay, I am coming down, it should be a breeze”, said Frank. And surprisingly it was, Franks sweat disappeared as he reached to safe ground. They both decided to take the rest of the day off and meet up early the next day at a local diner.
Frank turned his red Mac Truck onto route 206 and all that he could think about was surviving the day and the mysterious contents inside the notepad. That is, until the red Mac Truck dropped. “Shoot!”, said Frank. Yes, he had a blow out and the truck needed to be pulled over to the side of the road for its repair. Luckily he was prepared and had a spare tire on rim ready to go in the back of the truck.  Frank hobbled to the side of the truck, slowly bent down and made the necessary tire change and hopped back up into his cab forgetting the flat tire on the side of the road.
Mitch was travelling to work the next day and spotted the huge tire on the road, decided it was a danger to other vehicles and propped it up against the street sign. And this is how the rusted rimmed tire was found on the side of the road.

Just a Short Walk

Recently while doing computer maintenance work I came upon photo captures from the month of April. I chuckled to myself about the decision made to become adventurous that bright but semi-sunny day. Even though the black Cannondale bicycle had a flat tire from last Fall hanging from its rim, determination drove me to acquire a Skill saw. This tool was needed to complete a small project that consisted of sawing down a collection of wooden pallets. In order to achieve the desired aged quality look, the pallets weathered for two years and were now primed to be sanded and stained. With my high-tech looking black shopping cart with red rimmed wheels in tow, I decided to take to the highway. Unfortunately, this particular shopping cart had to be manufactured in China and for people with short arms. The cart handle was too short and it was necessary to utilize a homemade bright yellow hand knitted scarf to extend the length and act as a means to pulling the cart up from dragging onto the ground.

The scrap metal yard was on the way to the big box strip mall.  I never visited this type of facility before and wanted to check out their inventory for creative applications. Only in late sixties mob movies that appeared on television was it possible for me to view mountains of heavy metal.  Portrayed victims related to a crime were usually rubbed out, carted away by truck and buried in a yard. Very uninviting, a dangerous type of operation but right up my alley for today’s excursion! At the entrance to this yard was a worn out building. No pedestrian walkway could be seen so I had to walk as if driving into this facility. Warning signs and bright yellow caution painted strips decorated the entry. A row of sharp metal prongs poked up out of the road at the gate. Undoubtedly designed to inflict a puncture into a tire when a vehicle is backing up. So once a vehicle pulls up there is no way to move but forward.  hydrant2I approached one door and tried to enter but it would not budge. A sign to the right directed me to enter at the back and this was the office location. I parked the black shopping cart and eagerly bounced up the steps to enter the office. Behind an antiquated bulky wooden desk sat a cheerful woman. She was busy sorting out paperwork that was organized on the desk-top. The scene was the total opposite of what I concocted in my mind or expected. Only the office props matched my vision of the ideal scrap yard scene. The office manager was delighted to see me and moved towards the door to proceed with a tour of the yard. I inquired about corrugated metal sheets, sinks, and anything else that architecturally could enhance my tiny house build.  “Tony would know where those items would be so let’s ask him”, she said. Loud rumbling could be heard from the back of the yard and Tony was found perched on a huge power dozer that pushed and crushed mounds of heavy metal into a mountainous pile.  Tony was bulging with muscles and also possessed the manly tools needed to maintain a yard.  He kept the metal piles neat and orderly and one could see how Tony took pride in managing his work.  We were both told where to look and the price of the panels. Throughout my tour I found some interesting objects and was given permission to take some captures.

Upon my journey I passed a billboard sign, bus stop, garden shop, barber store, military advertisement. and nature. The route was busy with daily traffic and during this walking field trip discovered that walkways, sidewalks do end and start-up again in precarious locations.

I found myself hoisting the cart over guard rails and walking onto narrow paths. At one point there was nowhere to walk but through a trailer park access road. I passed Rockefeller’s International Trade Zone, where paths were manicured and decorated with handsome landscaping. People that were driving vehicles must have wondered what this woman was doing carting a shopping cart, after-all no one walks or ever uses these park like paths that decorates the Trade Zone. Island hopping was also a skill developed throughout this trip and perhaps should be added to the resume.

Why do the powers that be construct big box centers on long winding mini highways up a major hill? The average bicyclist would be walking the bicycle up this hill. Upon reaching the shopping zone, Applebee’s beckoned me to stop and take lunch but I proceeded to Pet Smart, TJ MAX and then Lowes. My shopping cart filled up fast and the cashier at Lowes was helpful in organizing the Skill saw box to fit on the bottom of the cart with my other purchases on top. Exhausted, hungry and in need of refueling my system I found myself back at Applebees where I ordered a chicken, mashed potato dinner.  The sunny day was becoming slightly rainy and evident that the return trip would be a trek with additional cart weight.

Traffic increases after work and there had to be a short cut or safer way and remembered one by the Trade Zone. It was a bike path that stretched through wildlife and a residential neighborhood and may be safer but longer. I really could not afford making a wrong turn by foot but decided to venture forward with this path. The bicycle path was picturesque and the lightly falling raindrops highlighted foliage. Time went on and many miles too.  My legs were becoming heavy and tired. Evening was going to set in and I became worried with the thought of being in the predicament of camping in the woods for the night. Now that would be a nightmare.  At the intersection I noticed a familiar sight – the entrance to the nature trail. This could be another way to travel but at this hour not an option. Black bears roam these lands and crossing their territory in the dark would be too dangerous.  Upon arriving at an intersection a woman in a car was making a left hand turn towards the shopping zone. I waved her down to stop and politely inquired about finding the major route. She confirmed the correct direction to take but soon discovered that the remainder of this walk was overwhelming and a challenge.

 

 

‘Politics’

What do you think happened?

One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘Politics’

Yes! Even along the side of the road one can find oodles of politics! Every community has its favorites. At this time of year instead of planting trees, signs are planted up and down the roadsides. thingsifindonroad23Diligently a volunteer travels by car and a passenger runs in and out of it very quickly because there are allot of signs to post. I do believe this activity happens early morning or late at night due to daytime traffic. Getting ahead of the competition is clearly the main goal and roadside exposure positioning.

And, this is how a political sign ended up on the side of the road! Sussex County, New Jersey!

 

 

‘FREAKY STRETCH JEANS’

What do you think happened?

One of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘FREAKY, Stretch Jeans’

Speechless! This morning I went on my daily Lacey dog walk and could not believe my eyes! On the side of the road was a torn up product package with a pair of NEW stretch jeans. Now, I could use a pair of these! Earlier it rained and these found jeans were dry. I have narrowed down the toss time to being about 10:30 a.m.  thingsifindonroad21stretchjeansI often wondered if people are reading this blog and intentionally are throwing things out on the side of the road. If so please throw out money! But from time to time even prior to this blog I found items such as a fairly new crossword puzzle in its box.  It included all of its thousands of pieces, two beautiful room sized hooked rugs (I did a video on the rugs awhile ago),  a pair of black high tech sun glasses at the bus stop, a restaurant over-sized spoon that is great for garden digging in style, a auto ratchet, many of those stretchy thingsifindonroad22black rubberized tie downs, deer antler, heavy duty bolts and nuts, rolls of super wide colored strapping tape . . . I think that it is time for another walk, perhaps there is a new top to go with the jeans out there!

Again, I am speechless, so can you tell me how the new package of stretch jeans ended up at the side of the road?

Please note: I could use a size 8 pair of hiking boots, sneakers, garden shoes, t shirts, canvas walled tent, circular saw, nail gun, assorted carpentry tools, auto…

‘Beyond Repair’

How do you think these items ended up on the side of the road?

One Capture of a series titled ‘Things I Find On the Side Of the Road’

Photo Capture: ‘Beyond Repair’

Today was another beautiful day. Well it was better than yesterday allot warmer and the sun was out shining. A bird chirping type of day. I decided to assist my sister and her friend with their kayak launch. The lake is less than a half mile from the house and only one car was available to make two trips with the kayaks. Last year the kayak bounced to the front of my sisters car and cracked her windshield. Oops! She does not want to take another chance after having to repair her windshield two times due to road debris.

'Drifting I' by elizabeth mclaughlin

‘Drifting I’
by elizabeth mclaughlin

However, I decided not to go with them and perhaps next week I can devise a small trailer apparatus to attach to a kayak for my bicycle to tow. Now that will be a sight going down the road! Anyway, I was left in-between the pick up at the lake with a kayak and decided to take a spin while waiting for the other kayak. A boater assisted me with my launch and off I went into the peaceful abyss of drifting. While drifting I took some photos and very shortly thereafter my sister and friend with kayak in tow arrived at the lake. I decided to walk back to the house and went down the road only to discover a notepad on the side of the road. Luckily, I had my camera with me to take a capture.

'Beyond Repair' by elizabeth mclaughlin

‘Beyond Repair’
by elizabeth mclaughlin

The LCD screen was severely cracked and chipped beyond any repair. It looked fairly new nestled in a sleek black case. Perhaps someone going to the lake had it on their boat trailer and when it reached the steep incline in the road it bounced out. I can only make this conclusion, as to how the notepad ended up at the side of the road.

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