One Man’s Trash Can

Bill is an animal lover. On his farm along a two-lane road of rustic Pennsylvania, he lives a private, quiet life. Bill, like many collectors, surrounds himself with reminders of his past. These triggers for memories may go unnoticed to those in passing. For Bill, they live within wind spinners and lawn ornaments and one very beloved vintage metal trash can. When Bill sees his old garbage can, he immediately thinks about his old friend, Bode, and all the animals that kept him company over the years spent on his quiet piece of America. It is more than an old trash can. In fact, an old trash can is far from what he would call it. For Bill, it is a treasure filled with reminders treasured.

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Bill stands with Bode’s food can at her gravesite.

“Right in here, under this patch of trees, is where I buried her,” Bill says. “So, that can ain’t for sale. I can get you one. I can get you another one, but this one ain’t for sale. Bode [Bodee] was her name. She was a mix of Collie and Lab. My uncle had a dog named Bo, and then my aunt says, ‘Call the dog Bo.’ I said, ‘His is a girl.’ ‘How about Bode?’ she said. ‘That’s it!!’ And that’s how we got the name. My aunt is now 101. Bode died about four years ago, so I got her about 20 years ago. She made it to 16 years old. This was her food can. I had it on the porch, but this was her food can her whole life. I would take her food out of that can for her. I would put the whole bag in the can. You know? It was a nice size. You could put a nice 25 pound bag in. You couldn’t quite get it all in without squishing it, but I would keep her food in there, and it was always good and fresh. She knew when it was time to eat. Does a dog or a cat know? Sure! These cans are great for storing. In these, you store things you don’t want to get wet.”

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“Before I got Bode, I had a cat that herded goats,” Bill explains. “I saw her do it about six or eight times. I had a friend, he was a butcher, and he goes, ‘That’s impossible. I looked in my book, and cats are not a herding animal.’ That’s what made it so great. I had a caretaker back then, and he says, ‘Watch, Tiger will round up the chickens.’ I said, ‘Get the heck out of here! That ain’t gonna happen!’ He says, ‘Watch. Let them out. Tiger, round them up!’ She rounded them in! So, one day, I was back here and I had the goats out, and I said, ‘Tiger, if you’re so smart, do you want to help me round up the goats?’ She was just looking for that. She loved it. She rounded them right up. She did this for a few days, and I wanted to be sure she really liked doing it, so I would feed her and say, ‘Do you want to go get the goats?’ She would leave that food in a hurry! She would run right down there by the barn and round those goats up. I had it on video once. I don’t know what happened to that, but I was going to send it in to that Funniest Home Videos show. That was a rare thing for a cat to do. They don’t usually herd animals. This one time I made a mistake. I had about ten kids here from the neighborhood to see her do it, and she gave me that look like, ‘Don’t you dare do this! I ain’t doing nothing for all these people!’ And she wouldn’t do it. Incredibly smart.”

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