Obsessed with the garbage truck

By LISA BRITTON Baker City Herald September 11, 2009 09:56 am

My 2-year-old can hear the refrigerator door opening from across the house, but it’s the distinctive squeal of a garbage truck’s brakes that makes her drop everything and race to the door.

Every morning when she wakes up, she asks “Garbage truck coming today?” in a hopeful little voice.

Six days of the week she’s disappointed. But when she goes to bed Thursday night, I get to say, “The garbage truck will be here tomorrow.”

Her eyes light up as she exclaims, “It’s Friday!”

(Repetition is everything in a toddler’s world.)

No matter what she’s doing — eating breakfast, piecing together her alphabet puzzle or flipping through a book — those brakes screech through her concentration and she’s on the run.

“The garbage truck coming!” she yells.

(I have to intercept her when she’s in her high chair or she’s likely to leap out in her excitement and I’d like to avoid broken bones as long as possible.)

Whether she’s at home or at Grandma and Papa’s (my parents watch her while I work — something for which I can never express enough thanks), her Friday routine is the same: stand watch until she sees the truck.

Of course, a garbage truck is nothing without a driver, and we’re lucky that the one who dumps our trash is also eager to wave at a blonde-haired little girl.

The best part is that garbage trucks make many passes on their daily route through our neighborhood (15th and Auburn), so we sometimes spend an hour outside watching for the garbage truck.

Then she talks about it all day long to us, to friends, to random people at the grocery store.

She’s also a bit obsessed with backhoes and other heavy equipment, and is now pretty good at distinguishing between a backhoe and a track-hoe thanks to my dad, who ran a farm equipment business years ago.

Then, in this summer of road construction, the trucks arrived to chip seal our streets.

Can you imagine her joy?

One afternoon, right before nap time, I sat on my parents’ front porch with Olivia to watch the process as the crews laid oil and crushed rock, followed by a roller to smooth it all down.

And we weren’t the only ones outside — the almost 3-year-old across the street watched with his grandpa, and another neighbor leaned on his fence.

Apparently big trucks appeal to the youngsters and the young at heart.

But I’d really like to thank the man who drives the garbage truck in west Baker City — Olivia’s Fridays are always happy because he waves at one of his biggest fans.

Lisa Britton is a reporter for the Baker City Herald.