Friday, February 18, 2011

Litter picking is an All Season Sport - Vermont man lost in Minnesota.

After nine days indoors in Isanti, Minnesota, I decided I needed some vitamin D in the form of sunshine; frigid temperatures notwithstanding it looked like a good day for a walk. Our three-year-old host/grandson Gavin wrote a letter to his great grandmother in California, which needed to get to the post office. The post office was a mere two miles away according to MapQuest. Sliding the envelope into my coat pocket with a mental notation of the directions I started crunching over the snow and ice covered sidewalk.

Two blocks later two seemingly large dogs barked fiercely upon my approach. As they ran toward the sidewalk, I anticipated a chain or leash to go taut and hold them back; no such luck. I quickly reached for a rubber dog toy and threw it as hard as I could back into the dog's yard. I hurriedly continued on my way missing the right turn I should have made just past where the dogs startled me.

A Minnesota police officer politely re-directed me towards the post office. (Always be polite to police officers, you never know when you may need their help like if you get lost and are freezing to death.) Having already walked two miles, backtracking was humbling but I figured I still had time to be at Gavin’s home by supper and before dark. I did find the post office. One small problem; I had lost my three-year-old grandson's letter.

Would it remain under snow and ice until spring, which as I have come to understand does not arrive in Minnesota around June every year like in Vermont, but only comes to Minnesota once every 5 years? Would some litter picker find it, pick it up and throw it away assuming it was trash?

"My first letter I ever wrote was dropped like litter by my grandfather when I was three years old." Can you imagine? I had to find that letter!

I retraced my steps back to the post office, and then continued walking block after block reaching the dog's territory. There was no toy to throw this time. Sure enough, the stamped envelope holding my three-year-old grandson's letter was lying right there were the two large barking dogs initially confronted me. After snatching up the letter, I did not waste time leaving but did take the correct turn this time.

Past sunset, with very cold hands and feet, rumbling stomach, and no flashlight-I marched on to locate the post office via this new unfamiliar route. Much later my grandson Gavin was not interested in the remaining trials I faced before returning to his home. He only wanted my assurance I had mailed his letter and that great grandma would receive it soon.

Remember not all litter is trash – you never know what treasure you will find.

Vermonters care about how clean their state looks. Vermonters care about their sweethearts. I wish you and my wife a Happy Valentine's Day.

Other holiday postings:
      Ø  MLK Day of Service: