You drop it - you pick it up

Buddy and I were out for a stroll the other night and instead of using the litter bag I had to pick up after him, I found myself picking up after the horde of litter bugs who left their trash behind in the high school parking lot.

By the time Buddy and I had made our rounds, we had a large black plastic bag - you know, the kind they put your snacks in at the local convenience stores - full of trash.

I’m talking a big bag, filled with abandoned food wrappers.

Buddy sniffed at them and walked away. Not his kind of food.

But I was pretty annoyed. I normally don’t mind bending over to pick up the occasional scrap of garbage, but with all the wrappers I found, come on. If you drop it, then take the time to bend over and pick it up.

If I could have caught the offenders that tossed their trash on the ground, I would have been tempted to grab the individuals by the scruff of the neck and encouraged them to pick up their own trash.

Lately it seems like I’m seeing more motorists of all ages tossing their garbage out of their cars. I know that people know better, but they sure don’t do better. Their decisions to ugly up my community make me cranky.

I know a lot of people talk all the time about civic pride. But are people just paying lip service to the concept? It sure appears like no one is paying attention to litter control, never mind attempting to recycle anything.

I grew up during the era when former First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson encouraged citizens to help “Keep America Beautiful.” Growing up we were all taught to be responsible for picking up litter. It was practically considered a sin to drop trash on the ground.

Mrs. Johnson was instrumental in promoting highway beautification. But highways were not her only target. She was quoted as saying “a little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions.”

Dirty streets and litter blowing everywhere is not pretty and yes, it does cause tempers to rise.

I recall that during Lady Bird Johnson’s time in the White House, she fought to make American cities more beautiful. She encouraged the planting of flowers or adding park benches, and to have cities and transportation officials remove billboards and junkyards from the nation’s highways.

Like her, I want to encourage Sunnysiders to be more mindful of the trash at their feet. Don’t wait for someone else to pick it up. Carry an extra bag with you and help out.

We all live here and don’t we all want to live in a beautiful Sunnyside?

Buddy and I sure do.

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