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Trash or treasure?

Most local city councils around Australia now allow their residents to do what’s known as hard rubbish collection once or twice per year. Anything too big, cumbersome, or heavy to go in your normal rubbish bin can be put out on your nature strip, and you can book a council truck to come and pick it up.


Recently, I did one of these and managed to dispose of an old, rusted BBQ, some broken outdoor furniture and various bits of unwanted wood, metal, hard plastic and even a roll of chicken wire that the chickens felt they no longer needed.


I wonder what we’d put out the front of our Army halls if we did a clean-out?


‘One box of unwanted timbrels; free to a good home.’ While there are still Salvationists who love their timbrel playing, the reality is that there’s a very small number of corps who still have pig-skin bashers and hardly any that have a timbrel brigade. Perhaps it’s time to fill a box with them, pray a blessing over it and place it on the nature strip. Perhaps a roaming van of Hare Krishnas will take them.


‘Head coverings of various shapes; free to a good head.’ When I went to training college, I was told I had to have a Salvation Army cap, so I purchased one. I think I’ve put it on about 10 times in 23 years, mainly for Red Shield Appeal promotional photos. Unless you’re in a big brass band, most men don’t wear a uniform cap these days.


And while old Army bonnets make a nice display piece on a shelf in the house, the ladies’ hats of the 1970s and ’80s were reminiscent of flight attendant hats and were just ugly. It’s time for these hats and caps to either go to a costume shop or in the hard rubbish. I know that will anger some of you but, really, when was the last time you wore one?


‘Large organ; free to a large organist.’ I visited a corps a few years ago that had a piano on one side of the platform and an organ on the other, but there was also a keyboard on the platform. I asked the corps officer why he had all three. He said that they used the keyboard weekly and the piano occasionally and the organ never; he said the last corps organist had passed away about 20 years earlier. I asked why he’d never removed it, and he said, “The corps won’t let me. I’ve tried.”


I suggested he either sell it to a shop selling vintage items, push it off a cliff or put it out with the hard rubbish. He was reluctant to take any of these options for fear of being stoned by his soldiers.


‘Baritone players; free to a good band.’ I’ve played in Army brass bands for more than 50 years and still can’t work out why we need baritones. Three things occur to me: 1. They don’t seem to play a part that can’t be covered by the second trombones or tenor horns; 2. The baritone section is predominantly the retirement village of the band; and 3. When was the last time you heard a baritone solo performed?


I suspect they’re surplus and not required, so we can put our baritone players out with the hard rubbish collection. Except for Alf and Neal, of course; they do a great job in my corps band, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for them.


What else have you got at your corps that can go out with the hard rubbish? Do a spring clean this week and see if you can free up some space. Remember to keep the corps officer.


– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos


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