Street Jewels and a Another Stranger

When waking up in the morning you can either seize the day or let it seize you.

The day was Sunday. Usually a day where I catch up on some sleep and let myself naturally wake up instead of setting my alarm. It’s a day where I go to church. Sunday’s are a day where I finish the errands I didn’t get to on Saturday. They’re a day where I make a some time to plan out the week and review things from the previous week. Of course I make some time for lunch and maybe a meeting or a phone call with a friend. Sunday’s also are a day where I like to drink deeply from a good book that I’m reading for fun too. Most of all though, I make time to give back to my community.

Recently, what that has been, is going around town to pick up trash on the streets. Some areas are neglected more than others, but regardless I usually fill up a few trash bags before the end of the day. It’s a common habit for a lot of people to use the streets as garbage cans and for people to see the streets lined with garbage. You’d be surprised of the different outlandish things you find on the side of the street and in different areas around town. For example, I once found a fishing pole split into three pieces, with the reel and pole split in two. The reel was in pretty good shape too. On the other side, you tend to find a lot of beer bottles, gum wrappers, bags of chips, water bottles, soda cans, liquor shooters, etc. The other night I found I used diaper. Which wasn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve come across.

Side note: If you’re doing this work… make sure you’re wearing gloves. Thank the Lord I was wearing gloves that day.

So before I left for church that day, I packed up my gear. Four or five trash bags, my gloves, and a good book when I need to rest and recharge for a few minutes. After I got done with church I headed right out to the other side of town to start picking up some trash. While I was walking down to the spot(about 10 minutes). I noticed the street I was walking on was virtually spotless. It almost was glistening in the sun as I adjusted my hat and sunglasses, to block out the sun’s rays coming down from the hot noon sun.

As I continued on with my walk towards the spot where I would start my “pick up” for the day, I took a look over to the other side of the street where I noticed a man walking briskly in the opposite direction, with a pair of hiking boots, some old clothes, a couple buckets, and two or three “litter sticks.”

“No way” I thought. He was not picking up trash too. I always thought there could be others in town that did the same thing I do but I thought that I was the only person in town that picked up trash.

I continued to walk without saying anything. Then a few seconds went by and I said to myself, “I have to talk to this guy.” So I started to cross the street where he was heading and yelled to get his attention, “Excuse me sir! Sir.. excuse me!” I could tell I caught him off guard as he quickly turned his head to see who was yelling at him. I finally caught up to him and just said, “Hey how’re you doing man?” With the shock leaving him for a moment but with confusion in his tone, he replied “Pretty good man and yourself?”

I then asked him, “Are you picking up trash by chance right now?”

“Just got finished,” he quickly responded.

He ended up telling me that he and a small group of people, virtually every week on Sunday, go around and pick up trash. They were just packing up and finishing for the day but he told me they usually take on this long street that we we were on with the wooded area off to the side because, “It’s always accumulating trash.”

I later found out his name was Dave and he actually moved out of town a few weeks ago to a place over an hour away. He told me it was getting a little rough for him to make it down but that he was doing his best. As the leader of the group he was looking for someone to take over possibly.

Who knows… there’s another possibility.

“This was amazing,” I said to myself. Even better, “This community is amazing.” For awhile I was hoping to get together an annual event where the community gets together, but there was already a group in town doing it almost weekly that I could be a part of.

They were just finishing up for the day and I was just starting my pickup so I looked at Dave and said, “ You guys got the first shift for the day and I’ll pick up the second one.”

Before leaving, I met another one of the group members, exchanged numbers with Dave and then we parted ways.

In short, another stranger and another opportunity.

I’m thrilled to meet up with this group in the future and meet the rest of the group.

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do conclusions.” – Benjamin Franklin

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