Trashing My Friends

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Trashing My Friends

By Susan Goldfein

Oh, what fun it is to put away all the celebratory vestiges! Lights and decorations are closeted for another year. Wrapping paper and ribbon that wasn’t decimated by eager hands is recycled for future use. The last of the eggnog is tossed down the drain, and the dreaded fruit cake? Pulverized in the waste disposal. 

If you celebrate Chanukah (or Hanukkah, if you can’t gargle), it leaves its own detritus. The lingering aroma of fried potato pancakes can last up to two weeks, requiring the use of industrial-strength air freshener. 

Then there’s the labor of chiseling the hardened wax from the menorah, the candle holder which burns 44 candles over the eight nights of the holiday. Would dripless candles be a blasphemy? Maybe. So, we stand over the sink with small sharp objects, jabbing at the little candleholders until they’re empty and ready for next year. 

But for me, one looming issue remains—what to do with the greeting cards containing portraits of my friends and their families? 

I’m not talking about those from your dry cleaner or newspaper delivery man. They can be guiltlessly abandoned to the recycle bin. But the family photo cards? Not so easily trashed. 

It must have cost the Clarks a pretty penny to assemble all 28 children, grandchildren and dogs on that Hawaiian beach. Not to mention the photographer’s fee. And see how lovely and happy they are, healthy white teeth displayed for the camera? What do I…? How can I…? But on the other hand, do I really need a family portrait of the Clarks? 

And here are the smiling Bensons. Not quite as many as the Clarks, but lovely all the same. And Tracy is coddling her new baby. How sweet! Can I even consider tossing out that baby? 

Next come the Berkowitzes. There are enough in this group to qualify as a tribe. And Papa Berkowitz didn’t fail to include his annual family update letter, with each person cross-referenced in the photo and identified by little numbers on their chests. Boy, he really put a lot of effort into this one—such a dilemma. 

Here’s one from Betty. She has no children, but look at her adorable dogs. I do love dogs. I would never trash a dog. But yet…  

These people look familiar. Oh, they’re my grandkids. Not the best picture. And I have so many others. 

I stand by the garbage bin, photo cards in hand, immobilized by agonizing indecision. It would be so much easier if the cards would simply self-destruct 48 hours after New Year’s Day. 

Hallmark, are you listening?   

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