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Why limit it to ‘annual,’ a thumbs up, and Bob…

At a work reception last week, a woman was telling me how her Scout troop looked forward to their “annual” clean up at a local lake.

The boys (and their parents) would fill bags with debris to be carted off to the dump. I asked if there was any thought given to recycling of materials, and while she agreed it was a good idea, her rationale was there was simply too much to deal with.

Ah. Sure, it’s laudable that a lake would be cleared of junk, but there is a big step missing in there somewhere. Why not take the added time, as a learning experience for the kids, to sort what they retrieve?

Moreover, and I didn’t mention this to the well-intentioned Scout leader, but I’d supplement the annual event by encouraging the kids to take control of their own trash and – no surprise here – pick up somebody else’s discards.


My first ‘thumbs up’ sign came Monday as I was dragging my sorry carcass along the final half-mile of my daily route. The bag wasn’t overly full, but it was getting there.

A woman on the other side of Sharon View whom I see with regularity gave me the thumbs up as we intersected going different directions. I gave her a mild wave back and kept on going. Apparently she’s seen me stoop over to grab junk often enough to know I’m not a bag man. Nice of her to recognize the effort.

My Monday-Tuesday haul that elicited the thumbs up.  I guess the next step is trying to figure out how to take this beast to the big time or the next level, whichever comes first.

My Monday-Tuesday haul that elicited the thumbs up. I guess the next step is trying to figure out how to take this beast big time or to the next level, whichever comes first.


My friend Bob up in Des Moines, a devoted follower of this space whose constant encouragement of my efforts gets me out the door some days, is upping his suggestions that the act of picking up paths become a national endeavor rather than a one man rant. He’s onto something but that sort of promotion escapes me. If you have suggestions, reach me at


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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