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The 20 yard dash…

You’d think a former 2:24 marathoner could get from here to there lickety split. The days as a semi-speedster, however, are long, long gone. My ankles tell me so.

But the familiar crunch of plastic during rush hour traffic got my attention. There, in the middle of four rows of traffic on Colony Road in Charlotte was some large, clear plastic object that was meeting the wrong end of radial tires. It was in the process of being flattened. So was the green plastic top; my first clue that this was a Simply Orange bottle. Big pieces of plastic are a prize find for me but this was rush hour, and the traffic was rushing. I weighed my options: A) look for an opening to make a 20 yard over-and-back dash for the bottle, B) wait until the weekend because the remains will still be there, and C) keep walking.

The plastic Simply Orange bottle sits to the left in this picture. I'll always pick up the pace for plastic (even if it kills my ankles).

The plastic Simply Orange bottle sits to the left in this picture. I’ll always pick up the pace for plastic (even if it kills my ankles).

Actually, there was no option other than A. So I bided my time. There suddenly appeared a 200 yard gap from one wave of 45 MPH autos to the next. I set off on a dead sprint – okay, a slow trot – to the bottle. In several deft moves I picked up the container and what was left of a few larger pieces of the green top.

Once back to the safety of the curb and after a few well-earned huffs and puffs, my bag and I – and the bottle – were back on our way.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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