National Cleanup Day: A love that was lost on the roadside

By Janet Hommel Mangas

It’s here!

Today is the day!

The neighboring rooster is crowing this morning to alert everyone.

It’s officially National Cleanup Day — where everyone is encouraged to pick up at least one piece of litter.

I routinely pick up the litter strewn from cars along the roadside in front of our house, but that is for selfish reasons. It still baffles me why litterers decide it’s a good idea to throw unused items or fast-food bags out of their car window, when there are trash containers at every gas station, grocery store, fast food joint and home.

It does give me fodder for daydreaming while I pick up a blue scarf hanging on the fence, half-empty bottle of Old Grand-Dad 100 percent Bourbon, doughnut boxes and near-empty paper bags with Taco Bell and McDonald‘s contents.

The scenario in my daydream would go something like this: Young Freddie had planned the perfect date to ask his high school crush to the homecoming dance. Freddie noticed Lucy loved to wear blue, so he spent the previous Saturday afternoon carefully selecting a pashmina that perfectly matched Pantone color chart No. 293 — a royal blue to match Lucy’s eyes.

Freddie then set up a casual after-school meeting at McDonald’s, where they first met after a football game. When the day came to ask her to the dance, Freddie’s stomach was churning with nervous excitement. Upon meeting, he presented Lucy with the Pantone No. 293 pashmina and a box of her favorite Krispy Kremes (she is highly allergic to all flowers).

Feeling confident of her answer, Freddie became confused when three small tears rolled out of the corner of Lucy’s eyes.

“I am so sorry Freddie. I would love to, but I just told Thor in my fifth period geometry class that I would go with him.” Freddie mumbled something like: “No, problem — maybe next time.”

And somehow after a budding love was halted, the blue pashmina scarf, McDonald’s bag and Krispy Kreme box ended up strewn along the roadside — and I gingerly picked up the litter of evidence of a love that was lost.

Have fun picking up your one piece of litter today — I hope it is accompanied by a story. And don’t forget it’s also National Play-Doh Day!

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove
area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments