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Because I made a promise …

This was not a morning to get up. My iPhone weather app registered a frosty 30F at 5:20 a.m. But what the hell. Get up, get the coffee started and get out the door.

No doubt there are a lot of descriptions people might tag me with for such seeming early morning nonsense. There are, however, larger considerations. While the cold might rattle my bones it does nothing to cool my resolve. Some time ago I made a promise to my path, to those who walk along it, and to myself. It’s worth bundling up.

That’s not to say some mornings aren’t a sheer test of will. Mornings like this one.

No sooner had I turned left onto Sharon View when what was a large bag of Burger King fast food is now a nasty trail of wrappers, condiments and plastic cups strewn 40 yards up and down the street. Before I’ve gone 100 yards, my bag is half full.

The rest of the way is routine (in an unfortunate way); a large sheet of plastic that looks like it covered a new mattress, more-more-more fast food debris (including chunks of wreckage from a mishap involving cars that took fast food a little too literally in a Burger King parking lot), the predictable beverage cans from late-night revelers and my largest-ever armload of cardboard. Sprinkled in were a few slow jogs onto the streets (including retrieval of a smashed malt liquor can in the intersection of Fairview and Colony Roads) to claim a polystyrene to-go food box and yet more plastic remnants from a wreck. My bag was stretched to the breaking point; for every piece of litter stuffed into it, time and again something else fell out.

I worked my buns off in the cold for this morning's gigantic stash of trash. But a promise is a promise to my path, to the environment, to me, and to you, too.

I worked my buns off in the cold for this morning’s gigantic stash of trash. But a promise is a promise to my path, to the environment, to me, and to you, too.

I don’t ask the Lord for much but today I pled aloud for another plastic bag – “Lord, you’ve got to help a brother out” – to handle the overflow. None was forthcoming. (Our conversations typically are one sided – me to Him – and toward the end of my walk I did give thanks for allowing me to get up yet again to perform such a menial task.)

Bottom line: I was able to keep my promise for another day. My path is cleaner, litter/trash/junk is sorted and corralled in two recycle bins. If the theory holds that one day builds toward another, then today put me in position to repeat my oath tomorrow.

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.

1 Comment on Because I made a promise …

  1. What would you do with yourself if other people didn’t leave this mission in life for you?

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