One sock, left stranded on Summerlin Road in Fort Myers, just a matter of yards from the Sanibel Causeway. Who knows where the other one went--I have a picture of someone, suddenly looking down at his feet and saying, "My sock! Where's my sock!" Unfortunately, it was just one of many items of clothing, including a couple of hats, and amazingly, even a bathing suit, that my Rotary Club's cleanup crew found strewn along the one-mile stretch of road that we are responsible for tending to once a month. And that, of course, does not even take into account the several large bags of papers, candy bar wrappers, plastic water bottles and empty beer cans that were cast out windows by thoughtless travelers.
We do it every third Saturday. You'll see our club's name on one of those "Adopt-a-Highway" signs. Its a messy job at times, one gets rather hot and sticky whilst doing it. I noticed one of my compatriots slapping his calves, brushing away about twenty ants that were making their way up his leg.
As it turns out, this month's clean-up occurred on the same day as the nationwide coastal clean-up day, when thousands of folks took to the beaches and byways to pick up trash and litter. A fine, fine effort.
I'm proud of my club's dedication to this task--and it always feels good to be a part of it. But it also makes me very sad--and even a bit angry. When will we learn to recycle, reuse and reduce? Ladybird Johnson, way back in the sixties, emphasized keeping America beautiful. And, yes, that's an important part of efforts such as ours. But today we realize litter has a far greater impact on the environment than mere aesthetics.
Sometime before I joined the club, our monthly effort was dubbed "roadkill"--someone's slightly twisted bit of humor! (We like to laugh in my Rotary Club--it's part of what keeps me active in it!) But that moniker is also a reminder that our treatment of the roadsides and beaches can kill if we don't, pardon the pun, clean-up our act!
Let me know if you'd like to join us some Saturday. Or better yet, invite your congregation, civic group, Scout troop or bridge club to take on a section of highway themselves! And, if you see someone limping along with just one sock, let me know!