From our No Good Deed Unpunished Department…

All the way to the airport yesterday I composed a snarky letter to pin on the front door of the person who thinks our road is his (or her) instant beer can and fast food trash dump and land fill.

Not wanting our visitors’ experience of our beautiful road to be sullied by someone else’s thoughtless trashing of it, I stopped a dozen times between the house and hardtop to pick up the effluvium of mindless slobs and placed each item on top of the household trash already destined for the first greenbox.

By the time I reached the hardtop (two miles) the oversized bag was full to the top. I stopped at the dumpsters to deposit the stuff and move on.

I thought I had been careful to empty everything before putting it in the bag. Apparently not. And the half ounce of liquid that seeped into my floorboard carpet seems to have had its origin in a pig bowel or bladder.

We drove home from Roanoke with the windows open. And somewhere I hoped the recipient of my letter would let me know when I should bring MY trash for HIS front lawn and the bottle of swine urine for his carpet.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I agree. To litter is a mindless grievance against Mother Earth.

    North Carolina has to be the worst…..Greensboro in particular……..of course, I live in both, so I see it upfront, all the time……’s a shame.

    I say…… most heartfelt thanks to those who go out and clean up our roads, byways, etc….the groups of volunteers, scouts, Lion’s clubs, etc, that take it upon themselves to pick up someone else’s trash………’s too bad that we cannot make those that litter, pick up their own crap………

    take care
    have a good week

  2. “North Carolina has to be the worst…”
    Ever been through Louisiana?

    Fred, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with litter in such a beautiful setting. It’s just as well that I didn’t witness it. I don’t have the bail money needed to get me out for what I might have done.

  3. Gotta love it…..NOT!

    May I suggest ‘Nature’s Miracle’ for your odor problem? It’s the cleaner we use for the new pup acident problem and it’s supposed to work by ‘eating’ or breaking down organic compounds such as ‘new puppy messes.’

  4. I think your guy drives by our place too Fred! I am thinking that a day in the stocks being pelted by rubbish might fit the crime

  5. “I am thinking that a day in the stocks being pelted by rubbish might fit the crime.”

    I was thinking of something else, but today’s society wouldn’t approve.

  6. Fred,

    Part of what I do for a living is to remove debris and trash from 16.5 nature trail. I have been doing it for the last six years so I am an expert. When you pick up a beverage bottles you need to pour out the contents first and also you should double bag your trash.

    Two things that I will never understand is why a person who will spend $1.25 for 16 oz.’s of water, who has made the decision that water is better for them then any other beverage would have so much disregard for the environment. The other thing that kills me to no end because I cannot dump out the contents is when dog walkers walk their dog pick up the poop in a little plastic bag and the proceed to chuck the bag in the woods where it hangs from a palmetto palm.

    I have to carry that poop out sometimes for miles with the garbage bag flung over my shoulder I can feel the contents of the bag bouncing off my back, the bag of poop in the garbage bag feels like a jab from a small boxing glove.


  7. That guy has the swiftness of Santa Claus in fulfilling his daily run. My pet peeves are cigarette packages and butts. Someone seems to enjoy butting out their cigarettes between the street curb and our yard and, today, I found one 60 feet from the street at the edge between our drive and our strawberry bed. Grrrrrrh!

  8. UGH! I am so sorry you had to deal with all that trash. You would think someone who lives with all the beauty that Floyd provides would respect it more! Thanks for the roadside beautification work, even if you should not have been forced to do it by the thoughtless, littering, “flesh-bag”…