CBC's The Hour recently completed their challenge for Canadians to do "One Million Acts of Green". Kudos to all participants. This challenge is still ongoing. For more information check it out here.

The new challenge for Canada, is to reach Two Million Acts of Green. According to the website, they are hoping to reach this new goal by summer. Many businesses and individuals are participating in this effort. Good luck to all. If interested in learning more click here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.... oops, I meant the milk man, the bread man, the Fuller brush man & the sheeny man!

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, there was a milk man, a bread man, a Fuller brush man and a sheeny man. The first two are pretty self-explanatory.

The third was a door-to-door salesman who sold brooms, mops, brushes etc.

Now for those unfamiliar with the last name, this was the man who used come down the alley with his horse and cart (yes, this was in the city) and collect the things that you wanted to get rid of, instead of throwing in the garbage. He is the connection to reuse in the 3Rs of recycling. Anything and everything that might have been junk was welcomed by the sheeny man.

The above picture is from the Walkerville Times collection of Ford City photos.

As kids we couldn't wait for him to come down the alley on Saturdays. We would listen for the clopping of the horse, his call of Sheeny Man and I think he might have had a bell also. Mostly, we waited because we wanted to see the horse. My husband had a different experience with the Sheeny Man. He lived in an area that didn't have alleys, so when the man came to the neighbourhood he just went down the street. Randy also told me that they had a man that would come through the neighbourhood to sharpen knives. So as you can see, things did not go to waste.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that local Essex County artist Ron Suchiu has done several paintings to commemorate the Sheeny Man. Totally impressed! These paintings show the relationship between the Sheeny Man and the neighborhood.

As I've said before, it didn't seem like there was as much, OK, I know there wasn't as much waste. Some of this was because our milk bottles and pop bottles did not end up in the garbage unless they were broken. Some was because the Sheeny Man would come by and collect a lot of what might have been thrown into the garbage if it wasn't donated to the Salvation Army. I guess another reason might just be because things were made in a way where it was cheaper to repair than replace. Also, products were packaged much differently. Individual packaging was very rare.

Looking back on the past, it really doesn't seem that bad. I don't think things were that much behind the times. In fact, I think we were more conscientious and less likely to waste back then. It would be good if we can get to a place in our lives where we realize that sometimes the old way, is the better way.

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