Blog Your Blessings: the Many Lessons of Ted the Recycling Guy

It was a sublime moment: Ted the Recycling Guy stopped his truck and called me over. "Do you work?" he asked. "I see you walking at all different times, and I wondered."

"Work?" I answered. "I teach English part time. Leaves me time to walk, Ted. Life is good."

"Hey, I guess so--but will you tell me something?" He leaned through the open window. "Why do people hold on to so much stuff?"

I knew he didn't mean the kind of stuff he puts in his truck. "Don't know, Ted. Why?"

"Well, I don't know. That's why I'm asking. I got four situations in my family, and it's all people being miserable over stuff--stupid stuff that don't make no sense, but they have to argue. All the time argue. Then they don't talk. So I get on the phone and I tell them, 'You know how to use a phone; call once in a while. This is stupid.' It isn't worth it," he said.

Ted--whose offering to me of last year's cast-off Easter flowers are ready to bloom in my garden, who discovered the cast-off papason chair that sits in my playroom, who discovered the cast-off laundry basket holding some of Adella's old toys--knows how to make the most of everything that comes his way. His secret is that he doesn't hold on to stuff.

Ted was one of the three men last week who told me the universe is full of gifts. "The universe will provide, somehow," Brian Vaugh said to me. "You have to know what you want and ask for it, and it will happen, but your mind has to want it."

"People have gifts; receive them," Mr. Lundwall said.

Ted's version: "I don't care what you want, it'll come to you if you can wait--you just gotta keep your eyes open." Ted ran through a list of the exact things he needed of late that came to him on his route--lounge chairs, dog beds, car seats. "I don't know how it happens, but sweetheart, it's all out there."

But it really isn't about stuff.


  1. What a wonderful post and great lessons. Love it. You are such a great writer. I will remember this as the week unfolds.

  2. Anonymous3:41 AM

    Love your post and wish we had a world full of sharers like Ted instead of so many intent on accumulating their own pile of stuff.

  3. hmm. give and you will receive in return?

    a lot about life depends on what we want. and i'm pretty sure that stuff or material wealth isn't a criteria for happiness.

  4. I think that so much great stuff winds up in the bin in great condition says an awful lot about it, too.

  5. Anonymous8:59 AM

    What a beautiful post and wonderful lessons. Happy BYB Sunday.

  6. In my neck of the woods it is "Kyle the recycling guy."

    We are blessed. Many communities do not have a recycling person.

  7. Anonymous1:03 PM


    I randomly stumbled upon your blog recently, and I really like it! I was wondering if you would be interested in a $50 blog contest I'm hosting over at Best CD Rates.
    The contest is located here:

    Thanks for reading, and keep up the great work-



  8. Loved this post! I just got my BYB Sunday post up, so it's more pertinent to the the meme! :-) I often run behind schedule being in the middle of the Pacific!

    What you wrote resonates with me!

  9. I have a person like this in my life too... Not a recycling guy but a guy who recycles... As a family we go from really admiring him to wondering what we're going to do with his latest gift. Still, a visit from him almost always brightens my day.

  10. Heh reminds me of truism: want nothing, have everything. Want everything, have nothing :-)


Post a Comment

Thanks for being here.