Alice’s Restaurant

So what, you might be wondering does Alice’s Restaurant have to do with Redemption (the farm, not the religious concept)? If you’re very young, you might be wondering what Alice’s Restaurant has to do with anything because you don’t know the song and you don’t know who Arlo Guthrie is. If that is the case, please study this, the first 10 minutes of Alice’s Restaurant, then come back and we will talk about the rest of the story.

Now, let me begin at the beginning, sans guitar. Redemption is off a dirt road, off a suburban street, off a freeway, located in an area that has been nicknamed “Prune-tucky.” There’s a reason for that and although I usually respectfully request that people refer to it as “Prune-tuscany,” occasionally, it lives up to its slur. There are many citizens (and residents) of the town without pride in how they live. I choose to believe it’s a small minority but somehow, those people manage to weave themselves into the lives of those of us who would choose to better our community. Observe, the need for the gate on our back road so we don’t have to pick up used condoms and McDonald’s bags (both equally gross in their own right.) Well, being the first house on the street (though not the first piece of property) we frequently are the recipients of other people’s trash. At least once a month, someone drives down our little dirt road, dumps out several bags of disgustingness and drives away. The contents of the bags are always shockingly similar. They ALWAYS include baby clothes and rusted out cans of food. There are variations of the same but every time…baby gear. I don’t even like babies. So enter our fist quote from Alice’s Restaurant. Arlo and friends had just finished dumping Alice’s trash over the side of a cliff when they return home, victorious.

"That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't get up until the
next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie.  He said, "Kid,
we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." And
I said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
under that garbage."

Most people who dump garbage on our road either are either blindly lucky or smart enough to not put identifying materials in their illegally dumped trash. I know this because I diligently put on my rubber gloves and sift through the trash, every single time. But this time,  JACKPOT! At the bottom of trash heap was one piece of junk mail with an address on it and two receipts for A&S Recycling, which had not only the name of the suspect but his driver’s license number, too! There was also a baby possum. Remember that, he has his own story. The receipts were from 2008 but I was comfortable in saying the driver’s license number is the same, even if the address was different. I briefly entertained the idea of going over there myself but after sifting a bit further, I found phone numbers for several prisons in the area, including San Quentin, and some letters written to someone in prison. By the way, the person who dumped the trash, has en illegitimate child that he didn’t know about and refused to accept. Based on the possible parolee status, I decided to get a deputy involved….

"After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
and pick up the garbage..."

After speaking with Deputy (Obie) Lopez, I was fairly certain he wasn’t going to get anything done. he was nice enough but, you see, taking care of illegal dumping ranks just above transporting a vomiting drunk to jail, on the scale of things cops would rather not have to do today. I suppose I could have pulled out the “Do you know who I am card” but I didn’t. I didn’t feel the situation warranted that sort of thing. I chose to have faith in his ability to take care of the little things, for the little people. Deputy Lopez was heading over to the suspect’s address as Dave and I were leaving for the night. I hummed Alice’s Restaurant all the way home.

I expected Deputy Lopez would call me back and let me know what happened but he never did. I wasn’t forceful about demanding follow-up but I also believe that basic customer service warrants a phone call saying: I found him and he’ll be cleaning up the trash or I didn’t find him, please get to the trash before the raccoons do.

When we got to redemption the next day, the trash was gone. None of the neighbors we saw that day reported that they had to pick up more trash so I’m assuming (because I like to assume the best in people) that Deputy Lopez found the perp (no, we don’t really use that term in police work) and made him clean up his mess.

I’m thinking of asking the neighbors if they want to install a gate and have a private road but in the meantime, I leave you with this:

"You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant"

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