That woman had the meanest face…

and I remember her calling me a name.

Before the days of Happy Meals.

After church,

McDonalds was a simple treat, when they only sold hamburgers, cheeseburgers and shakes.

And just like at my daughter’s school,

it always brings me an initial memory of trash.

I picked it up and threw it back in her car.  And she called me a name.

I was only 8.  And even I knew you didn’t throw your trash on the ground.  My dad said, “you can’t do that.”

But now,

When picking up the trash of adulthood and throwing it back, I can see the face of that woman.

With rules imposed on a simple group who simply want community.

But as we turn away from their rules and anger and look in other directions

Our community still sees those others who throw their trash,

uncaring.

They miss knowing that true community means picking up the trash because you care.

The smile that happens when another walks up and says, “let me help.”

Since I am no longer 8, I go back in my mind and pick up the woman’s trash and put it in the trash can.  I won’t hear her calling me that name, because I will be looking the other way.  Maybe someone will see.  Maybe they won’t, but on the very best of days they will stop and say, “let me help.”

McDonalds, Logan, Utah September, 2009

Mid-town area

Anchorage, Alaska

August 30th, 2010

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Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 6:44 am  Comments (15)  
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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. smiles. lovely thoughts on what i means to be a community and those that simply do not get it as well…i’ll help pick up the trash…nice one shot!

  2. If only we could learn to look after each other, then there wouldn’t be so much ‘trash’ to clean up.

    My poem is here.

  3. What a trashy post–but a good one! I lived in Anchorage during the mid seventies–worked at KFQD radio. Is the termination dust on the mountains yet?

    • Not yet! But with those low clouds this week, it wouldn’t surprise me that we get a taste soon. We head up to the Fair in Palmer tomorrow, and many times it’s been out in the valley, but not here in town yet.

  4. I loved that you (at 8 years old yet) tossed the trash back in her car (and I can see why a mean-faced woman would call you a name after that). People don’t want to own their trash – they just want to forget about it. It’s sad.

  5. nice reflection on the past
    sad how things have become so pervasive in our culture

    Thanks for sharing with One Shot

    Moon smiles

  6. I’m the biggest Retro Guy in the world…
    I Loved your story…great Job!

  7. Every bit helps. It really does.

    Every once in a while, we bring my five daughters to the playground. Armed with gloves, garbage bags, thongs, picks and stuff, we thoroughly clean up the place of candy wrappers, ice cream sticks,plastic bags and everything else.

    When will we learn?

  8. You took me right back to your 8 year old world…and brought me into this moment

    lovely poem

  9. i love the way you put this together…and the trash that industry has caused is without doubt the worse…but on a side note..i too got shouted at when i was young by a woman shouting from her window…i learned, i walked back picked it up and have never thrown again in my life unless its in the right place..great one shot..cheers pete

  10. You can and should do that! If people didn’t let others just throw their crap around, maybe they’d think twice. Nice one!

  11. What an interesting, innovative poem. I love your process in the age of multimedia you merge words and visual in a new way. Excellent merger of then and now, taking care of your psyche and taking care of the planet. It is with small steps and cooperation we mend the damage. Well done. Thank you. Gay

  12. i always try to pick up the trash. but i try to do it with a smile. 🙂 well written.

  13. I love this post! There are so many that just throw out trash, and don’t care about what they are doing. You were a remarkable and brave 8 year old! 🙂

  14. thanks for the comment on my thread on the bed post!
    your posts on the state fair and that photo of the mcdonald’s with the arches took me back to being 8 years old too!!! Remembering the tilt-a-whirl at Kennywood and the old mcD’s we used to go to…before they tore them down to build new ones!


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