Thursday, January 10, 2008

The bottle bug

A little more than a year ago myself and two of my kids were stumbling through some local woods while geocaching. The area that we were searching had been strip mined years ago and is a series of valleys and ridges that one would have to be in excellent physical condition to traverse. Or you could just be overweight, stubborn and a little crazy. Naturally, we went in the hard way.

After we passed through our third valley with the GPS still telling us to go onward we climbed up the next ridge and that is when it happened. I got the bug. The new valley we were looking into was literally half filled with bottles. I thought that this was pretty cool and marked the location on my GPS. We went on and found the cache.

For some reason the bottle dump returned to my mind often that week. The next weekend I went back to the valley and poked around. I dug through old milk bottles, coke bottles, medicine and household bottles. They were clear and amber and cobalt blue and green. If a bottle struck my fancy I put it in my backpack. I could not zipper it closed when I was finished. A forty year old fella collecting garbage from the 1930s? That would have been me.

After about four or five return trips with the kids I realized that something had to be done about the bug. So many of these bottles were interesting that we used to have to select the best from our pile of keepers so that we could carry them out without a mule team. You could not turn around in our shed without knocking bottles over.

This was the beginning stages of the disease. I found that I was not alone in this pursuit by searching the net. The stories were similar to mine, kind of like listening to AA meeting stories. The trick was to specialize in a particular type of bottle or surrender your house to the glass.

Then came the Lower Farm dump.........

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