Terri Kaiser

I saw a mattress in a ditch on the side of the road, along with too many plastic bags to count and enough tires to supply a fleet of sedans and pickups miles long.

Yes, I’m on my litter soapbox again. It’s spring after all, and that’s when those nasty pieces of plastic and other trash make its ugly presence known. The grass, normally matted down in the winter months, hasn’t grown enough to camouflage it all so our eyeballs can pretend it’s not there.

This year, as we made our normal loop through the south, North Carolina was the worst for litter by far. I was so incensed at the amount of litter in the ditches of the country roads and along the freeways, that I sent an email to the NC Dept. of Tourism and the Office of the Governor. I promptly received a message back from the Tourism office stating that they are aware of the problem and discussing ways to fix it. I then received a second email from them asking what roads we had traveled and for permission to forward my concern onto the DOT. The Governor never responded, but I’m not done being a pest yet. I hope it does some good, after all, our grandchildren live there.

We headed south just as the big snowstorm that terrorized Texas was abating. Now I fully understand the gravity of what those states go through when they get a taste of the white stuff. They don’t have the funds to buy snow removal equipment for an event that rarely happens. They are not prepared to drive on ice and therefore, terrible accidents occur. Many don’t have heat. An eleven-year-old boy froze to death in his bed. How horribly tragic.

The next time I have the urge to chuckle watching southern drivers navigating ice-covered roads, I will think twice. On the other hand, we saw some heartwarming scenes of those experiencing measurable snow maybe for the first time.

In southern Oklahoma, we were stopped at a traffic light and along a side-street I saw a young man with two little children sliding down a hill. The children were giggling like crazy, as was the man pushing them down the hill on their heavily bundled butts. Something so common here, was a delight to see down there, despite the fact that we were there to escape the snow.

In Waco, Texas we witnessed a young family running in circles having a spirited snowball fight. They dodged and ducked and slipped upon the light covering of snow in a small lawn, seeming to have the time of their lives.

And in northern Texas we pulled into a Sonic for lunch. As we waited for our food to arrive, we noticed a young man running into the yard in front of the restaurant, balling up a few handfuls of snow and then running back to where he was parked. He did this several times. It wasn’t until we pulled out that we saw he’d built a snowman in front of their car for his girlfriend/wife inside. She was laughing so hard she had tears running down her cheeks.

Those memories, of things we so take for granted, still make my heart happy. Although, the next time we head south, I would appreciate Mother Nature keeping the snow and ice up where it belongs.

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