Insights & Information

Treasure in the Trash

TBCA Blog Trash Can

A small metal trash can had been placed at the curb with the garbage to be collected the next morning. When I noticed it from my bedroom window I thought it looked familiar; so began the investigation. I retrieved the empty can and returned it to where my memory led. I waited.

The 1960’s high school shop class was apparently the groovy place to create unique…creations. Glued pictures, newspaper clippings, and cut-outs from magazines wrapped a metal can gently shellacked with polyurethane.  I had noticed the yellowed receptacle several times before, sitting in my Dad’s office, but had never paid much attention to it until that evening.

I waited patiently in the upstairs hallway until the light flicked on. Dad climbed the steps, walked passed me and entered into his personal realm where he quickly noticed the returned trash can. From behind, I walked into the room and pointed at the object..."Why are you throwing this away, and what exactly is it?” He sat down in his chair, gently looked at me and said, “It’s an old trash can that I made when I was in high school. Glued to it are the memories of everything that was important to me then.”

For the first time I saw—glued to the can—his high school basketball team picture, some newspaper clippings recounting wins and losses for the Western Warriors, pictures of buddies and old girlfriends, and headlines cut from magazines that even he himself could not remember their purpose.

I won’t deny that I am a sentimental person, and to me, everything has a story…so “Why?” inquisitive minds want to know, “Why get rid of it, Dad?” Simply, he replied, “This represents what WAS important to me. Now that I have a family of my own, I've discovered new passions and purposes. It’s time to focus on the future.”  With that said, he carried the old trash can back down to the end of the driveway.

There was treasure found in that trash that night. I was guilty of clinging to the past—the victories, disappointments, the good times, and bad—as reminiscent relics displayed on a mantle in front of me. But what Dad was teaching me is that sometimes it’s good to set those past reminders at the curb and realign the present stepping stones to guide us down the path of better decision making, less wasted time, and bigger dreams for the future. 

My Dad always seemed to look forward. He lived by: "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Find your focus and move forward.

52478488_10217793055439334_3775404024166088704_n [I will admit that from time to time I still glance at that yellowed metal can I stole sitting in the corner of my home office.]


That was beautiful, Jeremy, thank you. It really touched my heart. Your dad had a good message for all of us☺️
I read your story through tear filled eyes. It was so beautifully written with so many memories brought back to life. Also many life lessons to apply to my own life. Keep writing and sharing Jeremy, God be glorified!
An outstanding analogy! I loved the way you tied the past for the present using the "Ole' Trashcan" to make the point.
Wow, this story gave me food for thought. Others, must reliving a lot of memories as they think back in their lives as well.
Jeremy, I knew your Dad very well back many years ago. Jim was a very good person through and through. I know you cherish his memory. Thank you for sharing!
Don Smith

Thanks for sharing your personal, sentimental story. As I read and reread it, through teary eyes, I started thinking of my own Daddy wejo passed when I was six years old. I thought of many things and how I’ve been trying to keep those memories alive for the past 62 years. Some memories are happy. Some are sad. All memories seem to have become dormant in their past setting. As I reread your story a third time, I started to wonder ‘why’ I kept those memories in my emotional past, still seeing and feeling as a traumatized six year old. Long story short…I’m am now beginning to remember the past through more mature ( senior mature, lol) eyes and emotions. I am thinking those ‘dormant’ memories would be a better testimony to my Daddy if I brought them
Out into the open and actively out some memories into my daily life. Time to stop just thinking and remembering. Time to ‘really do something’ with those memories.
Thanks Jeremy! I believe the Lotd has used your experience to help the healing of a 63 year old wound.

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