Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Litter Picking

Alternately titled: What Mike and the boys did on Easter Sunday.
There were no Easter egg hunts attended by our family this year. That has never been a big part of our Easter celebrations. Mike and the boys did find themselves hunting through the ditches along two miles of state highway looking for litter, however.

My mom came on Friday and took Tony with her for the weekend. She had work and fun planned for him. After church on Sunday, Mike headed up north to go get him and check the beaver traps that had been set on Saturday. The beaver traps had already been checked, so when my mom asked Mike if he would go litter picking with her, he said, "Sure."

Our family has been picking up this stretch of roadway for...

Well, we officially signed up for the Adopt-a-Highway program in 1990. We were involved with two stretches of road; one with our teen pro-life group and one with our church youth group. We used to have litter pick-up days where a large group of teens would do the high way and then go horseback riding and have a bar-b-que. As we grew up and parents became more concerned about safety than virtue, it was harder to get kids out there. So, our family ended up being the ones who picked the stretches.

This was not a big deal because we had been picking up that stretch of roadway long before Adopt-a-Highway. My grandpa had unofficially adopted most of the 15 mile route from "Town" to "the Lake" and the additional 8-10 miles to our house. Every spring, we helped clean up those stretches of roadway after the snow melted and before the grass grew too tall and the mosquitoes came out. We had been doing that for as long as I can remember.

However, my grandpa started the litter pick-up long before I was born. There are pictures from the sixties when his kids were in high-school of Litter Bees. He organized days was when the kids from his science classes all went out to pick up litter.

His work on the county highway that leads to our family's lake cabin was so well-known and appreciated that after his passing, there was talk by some of the residents along the road of renaming the road after him. Even in his declining years when he could no longer drive and it was difficult for him to walk because of his Parkinson's, I would take him out driving along this county road. He would tell me when to pull over and pick up garbage that he saw along the road. Some people take their grandpas out to lunch. Me? I took my grandpa litter picking. It made him happy.

We settled for reassigning the Adopt-a-Highway sign to reflect who was actually picking up the litter. "Teens For Life" wasn't really accurate any more.

So, when Mike came home and told me that he had gone out litter picking with my mom on Sunday afternoon, he knew how much it meant to me but he loved hearing me say it anyways.

I love you, Honey!


e&e said...

Made me cry and miss Grandpa so much.

Anonymous said...

Brought back memories of Grandpa (Dad) picking up litter on the fly. He would spot a can or glove on the road, slow down, open his door and scoop it up without stopping...such talent. He would do the same of the lake as we boated. Me? I didn't like the wood ticks. He did find good treasures, though. For part of his final exam in our 9th grade science class, he put litter outside on the grass by his classroom to see if we learned anything and picked it up.