Every morning, as I walk from the parking lot to the high school, I pick up the trash that appears upon my path. I don't make a big deal about it. I just pick up what I can and throw it in the trash when I get into the building.
There are several students who see me do this most every day. One finally asked why I do it. It isn't my job.
He's right. It isn't my job. But if I didn't leave places a little cleaner than when I got there, I'm pretty sure my grandfather would come down from heaven and kick my butt.
That, you see, was one of his "commandments". We learned it many Sundays in the spring and summer as he took us on hikes through the park woods across from his house. While my grandmother and the rest of the family gathered around the TV or played cards, Grandpa took us on hikes in the woods.
The spring was my favorite time to go. I swear Grandpa knew the name of every wildflower we passed:
Jack in the Pulpits,
I loved searching for them as we passed down the trails. We never picked them. We left them for others to enjoy. Although I remember the first time he showed us a Blood Root. He did pick it to show us how it got it's name.
Often times we took marshmallows and Grandpa would start a small campfire so we could roast them. Always on long sticks that he carefully shaved the bark off with his ever present pocket knife. Those were the best marshmallows I have ever had.
And always we took a sack with us to carry our trash back with us... and any other trash we may find.
It was a lesson I learned well.