It was several years ago at this time of year. We were addressing holiday cards to the service people who make our lives easier all year: the sanitation workers. Our township hires four: a driver and a collector of regular garbage, and a driver and a collector of recyclables. Four cash gifts were added to each card and each person’s name was added to each card. Their name was put on the envelope before I punched a hole in the top of each of the four cards, added brightly colored ribbons through the hole on top and tied each card to the handle of the garbage pail. It made a colorful and cheerful sight, ribbons waving in the wind greeting the workmen.
Screeching sounds of gears shifting as the garbage truck lumbered up the hill and grinding noises of the brakes stopping at each house told us that the garbage truck was approaching.
From the living room window we watched the truck stop in front of our house and the men hoisting the heavy pails up and tossing its contents into the garbage truck. There was no sign of their reaching for anything tied to the handles. No envelopes were swinging from the handles. Some objects were flapping as the pails were lifted and replaced on the curb. What were they?
Where were the envelopes? What happened to our gifts?
We raced down the driveway to the curb to inspect the pails.
That’s when we saw the hideous sight of ribbons that had been cut right above where the envelopes were attached to the pails. What we had seen flapping were the stumps of the ribbons. A Grinch of our town had made it’s way along the street and cut off all the envelopes containing Christmas gifts for the workers.
Peace on earth? Good will to men? Bah Humbug!