Holy (Dumping) Ground

dumpHere’s my latest article in The Hingham Journal. It’s all about the new love of my life: the town dump.



Holy (Dumping) Ground

Hingham is charming. If you weren’t aware of this, you’ve either never been to Hingham or you suffer from charm deficiency disorder. Enough people have shared with me the famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote about Hingham’s having “the most beautiful Main Street in America,” that I’m beginning to wonder if longtime residents have this tattooed somewhere on their bodies. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I’ve certainly succumbed to the wiles of Hingham since moving here in August. What’s not to love about the quaint historic houses on Main Street, the stunning vistas of downtown Boston from World’s End, and Nona’s homemade ice cream? You needn’t have attended charm school to realize that Hingham has, if not a monopoly on, at least an abundance of charm. So why is my favorite place in all of Hingham the town dump?

I first started hauling things over there when we were breaking down boxes from the move. It was fantastic to move boxes out as quickly as we could open them. At least from Thursday through Sunday. I’ve lived in a lot of places but never in a town with a dump. I understand that it used to literally be a giant hole in the ground. You’d go up to the edge and toss your bags into the pit – and hope you didn’t lose a child in the process.

But I admit I was shocked when I first heard there was no regular garbage pickup in town. A week or so after the move, the garbage started piling up in the garage. No sign of the garbage men. Not even a hint of the more politically correct term “sanitation engineers.” Definitely no “garbologists” in sight. I casually, with only a slight degree of desperation, asked a neighbor about the next trash pickup day. And he laughed in my face.

And thus began my love affair with the Hingham town dump. Now, I realize it’s technically called the “Transfer Station.” But I prefer “dump.” It’s much more emotionally appealing; to dump something feels cleansing. To transfer something feels like online banking. Plus, I love telling Bryna I’m going to the town dump – much more manly than saying, “Honey, I’m off to transfer the trash.”

It would be great if there were an emotional dump adjacent to the town dump. A place where we could toss our emotional baggage; a place to dump that which separates us from the love of God in our lives. Perhaps it could be placed between the paper and plastic recycling areas. For Christians, this is what confession is all about – a safe place to dump our sins. In the Episcopal Church, a general confession spoken together by everyone is part of the Sunday morning liturgy. Individual confession is also available with the basic rule of thumb that “none must, all may, some should.” Whether that confession is made one-on-one with a member of the clergy or as part of a church service, the point is the same: dump your sins and receive absolution in the name of Jesus. Not a bad deal.

One more thing about the Hingham town dump. My boys have discovered the swap area. If this isn’t the epitome of New England thrifty I’m not sure what is. The good news is that Ben and Zack like to come help me out at the dump. The bad news is that we sometimes leave with more than we dumped. It’s actually been fruitful – two skateboards and a basketball hoop. But I’ve had to institute the you-can-only-take-something-if-you-dump-something rule. It hasn’t been particularly effective or well-enforced but it’s a start.

Now that I have my permanent dump sticker, I guess I’m an official Hinghamite. See you there.


One Comment on “Holy (Dumping) Ground”

  1. Dorothee says:

    Brilliant! I remember when the Croton Point Park was the Croton Dump! Good times!

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