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Hopes dashed: Charlotte vs. St. Paul … we have a winner in the Tidy Bowl

Deep down in my heart of hearts, I really hoped that my adopted hometown of Charlotte would measure up (or is that down?) to the relative cleanliness that was witnessed these past few days in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Alas, my hopes were dashed not long into my local walk on Monday night. Slightly more than halfway through the sweaty, humid slog, my bag was chock full of litter and debris. And then again tonight, there was another bag full on the same path. Help me understand that.

Call me a grump and a ‘lib’ if you will, but honest to God, this has to stop. Charlotte has to do better. We are just a messy, junk-laden wannabe-metropolis.

Now, I don’t expect business titans considering a relocation to Charlotte to cast a judgmental eye toward the sidewalks and pavement but surely the tidiness of the Queen City contributes to their overall perception of our town.

img_3286.jpgNo coin flip was needed. St. Paul claimed the Tidy Bowl hands-down over Charlotte. Minnesota’s capital won in a landslide in this picker-upper’s estimation. Yeah, my sampling size was small – central St. Paul near two secondary schools, Macalester College and St. Catherine University. Perhaps the neighborhoods take added pride in staying clean and proper near campuses. But still, there was a marked difference in the amount of trash laying about.

But there is a ray of hope for Charlotte. Next week I’ll trod around Chicago yet without taking a step in Illinois, I have already declared Charlotte the victor vs. the Windy City. It’s an even bigger mess than is found in North Carolina.


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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