The Dump

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Home Life

Share this post

Wrinkly Bits

A Blog by Gail Cushman

I try not to write controversial blogs, and some might think this to be the exception, but just so you know, I think we should take good care of the world we live in. That being said:

Cody’s favorite Columbus, Montana, venue is the Dump, but it has other more acceptable names, like the Solid Waste Station, the Garbage Site, the Transfer Station, and the Landfill. These are all kinder and gentler words than the “the Dump.” I think Cody likes it because it smells good, has lots of interesting things to look at, and the Dump Master always pats him on the head. And I like to go to the Dump because we get rid of all the trash in the garage and sometimes there is free stuff that is perfectly good to take home and re-dump at a later time. The Dump Master does not pat me on the head, though. He’d better not.

When we lived in Boise, we didn’t go to the Dump, the Dump came to us, in the form of huge trucks with warnings to “stay back and watch for falling objects.” I never saw any falling objects, but I stayed back, just in case. We had three trash cans in our back yard, each of which was about 55 gallons, one for paper, one for biodegradable objects, such as limbs and weeds, and one for plastics (plus orange bags, which were to be used for specified plastics). Evidently plastics were a problem for the Dump Masters because different types of plastics received different treatment and residents received specific instructions about which plastic goes in which bin. I easily spent ½ hour a day trying to sort our various trashes into the correct receptacles. I feared the trash police might come knocking on my door saying, “You’ve done it this time, Miss Gail, you put a water bottle in the orange bag. You know better.” I understand that some cities have trash police, but I never saw one in Boise. Fingers crossed.

My father saw the Dump as a place to find free stuff. He enjoyed “making something from nothing” and would find something old and worn out, like an ancient discarded TV cabinet, fix it, pretty it up, and voila! my mother would have a new chest of drawers. New, a work of art. There is something to be said about “making something from nothing,” creativity, genius, and an end product that is unlike anything anyone else has. Both of my kids looked forward to a day with Grandpa when he would take them to the Dump for a look at what might waiting for his handiwork. 

Montana is much more relaxed about trash, and everything goes to the Dump, except aluminum, electronics, and oil-based substances in clearly marked receptacles. Now and then, you will see a treasure that someone has left for others and I know people who have gathered up “stuff” too good to dump, with lots of life, including a living room carpet, a set of tires, and lamps. The Cowboy found a real treasure which is hanging on our wall, it is a Native American staff, hand beaded with feathers (not eagle feathers, we had them checked). It is about six feet long and was made by a Crow artisan (also checked). Why in the world someone left it at the Dump is beyond the Cowboy and me. 

I’ve not figured out why we all have so much “stuff” to go to the Dump. Could it be that we have four or five wrappings on each item…all of which are sealed tighter than a drum? Buy a tube of toothpaste, here’s what you get: Toothpaste tube, toothpaste box, Cellophane on the box, a paper bag, then plastic bag. And the toothpaste box is glued tighter than the Queen mother’s undies. 

I must compliment the Dump Masters, which is probably not the correct terminology, but in my mind, they do a masterful, but unappreciated job. Mostly un-thanked, they deal with cranky people, so this is my way of saying Uh Rah, from this Marine. Give them a little gratitude salute as you encounter them in their massive trucks rambling down the streets.

If you haven’t been to the Dump in a while, take a trip, see what people are tossing. Mostly unusable, but every now and then…you might find a real treasure like a replica of a Native American staff that looks great on your wall. And, if you are lucky, you might get a pat on the head! 

Gail now lives in Columbus, Mt. You can reach her at

Gail Cushman, Author

New books! They are here! Murder in the Parsonage  

Book 1 of the Maggie Monroe Series 

ANDLoving Again A Guide to Online Dating for Widows and Widowers…you don’t have to be alone.


Wrinkly Bits Series, a senior hijinks

Share this post

Gail Cushman:
Wrinkly Bits Author

Shop Wrinkly Bits Bookstore

Related Posts

Police Blotter Mania

Police Blotter Mania

A few months ago, I began writing a column for the Stillwater County News.  It’s called “Ramblings by Miss Gail” and I am having a lot of fun with it. The SCN is a small, county newspaper, a weekly, and fun to read. It has all the local news, like the comings and...

These Boots Are Made for Dancin’

These Boots Are Made for Dancin’

Wrinkly Bits A Blog by Gail Cushman My move to Montana necessitated that I reexamine my shoe situation. I’m a native Idahoan and sandal advocate, but now I want to blend in with my neighbors, and that means a change in footwear. Columbus has no shoe stores, so I...

Life Rocks

Life Rocks

Wrinkly Bits A Blog by Gail Cushman A few days ago, I joined a very nice lady for lunch. I had never met her, didn’t know for sure what she looked like, but she (you know who you are!) reads my blogs. We had a lovely conversation over coffee and sandwiches and it was...