Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Twice a week we empty the campground trash. My friend Doug does three campgrounds and tells me that I have the most beer and wine bottles of the three. Oddly enough I also have the quietest camp ground. We have a recycling center where some people follow the directions for glass, metal, plastics and so forth and where a few other people just dump stuff into the emptiest can. Doug comments on the trash like a good anthropologist. He thinks that the reduced volume of trash this year is a sign of tough economic times as are the cheaper brands of beer. We also get a lot of the telescoping lawn chairs that fold up and store in a bag. If people knew how many of them hit the trash, they’d quit buying them.

Last summer people tossed inflatable queen sized air mattresses at the rate of about one a week. I had wondered why people didn’t just repair them. This summer there has only been one and that one belonged to my son and his wife. I got a first hand look at why they hit the trash.

The first morning they came out of their tent mumbling about how their air mattress had sprung a leak and sometime in the middle of the night they made contact with the hard ground. I have six rigid foam sleeping pads which I offered to them. When we were in visiting the wolf center he stopped at the hardware store and bought a kit to patch the air mattress. Apparently those little leaks are hard to find and he blew it up by mouth a couple of times and then went into town and bought a foot pump. The next day the mattress was flat again but at least the foam pads were under it as a back-up. My son was talking about buying another one and my daughter-in-law was talking cots. The air mattress was toast and having watched the attempted repairs it is easy to see why people consign them to the trash. The real question is why people buy them at all. I may be turning into a curmudgeon.

As we were sitting around the fire, my son told me I needed a bellows to keep the fire going. Since I am on a bit of a simplification kick I told him blowing usually worked just fine. He disappeared and came back with the foot pump. He stuck one plastic end through a hole in the fire ring and started pumping. It really worked like a charm and he was justifiably proud until he noticed that the plastic nozzle had melted.

My grandkids had a great time rolling on the mattress trying to get all the air out and had a good time trying to fit the melted end of the pump into the mattress so they could do it again. The foot pump turned bellows was an ingenious bit of problem solving and also a lesson in unintended consequences. Oops! More trash.

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