Hello and good day!
Luke finished his shift doing oil changes over at Oil Can Henry's. There were tons of customers and he finished later than he wanted to. The sky was just getting dark on a long summer day and Luke had the next day off.
The first thing he did after clocking out was call his best friend Jim. "Jimbo?" said Luke. "It's me Luke. You off?" asked Jim. "I just got off. Where are y'all going to be Jimbo?" asked Luke.
"We're going over by the lake right now. We'll be on the side of the road," said Jim. "Should I bring anything?" asked Luke. "We have more than enough beer. We've also got vodka. We were thinking about doing vodka and energy drinks. Can you pick up some Monsters to mix with?" asked Jim."I sure can buddy," said Luke.
"Luke?" asked Jim. "What is it, Jim?" said Luke. "There's a lot of us and we'll probably be out there for a while. Can you pick up a few boxes of chicken nuggets for us to eat when we get hungry?" asked Jim. "I'm on it," said Luke.
Luke climbed into his car and began to drive. He was happy to be free and to spend time with his friends and to have the next day off. He ran his errands and then drove over to the lake.
When he showed up, there were two cars parked on the side of the road. He parked behind the two cars and with his car, there was a long blockade that blocked the party from sight. Several of Luke's friends and several young women were sitting on the bank of a dried-up drainage canal on the side of the road.
Their feet were down on the floor of the canal. Behind the drainage canal, there was a tall, thick bush. There was plenty of space in either direction between where they were parked and the start of residential zones, such that the attendees felt sure nobody could hear them. It was a warm and clear night.
The young adults got to drinking and laughing and making noise. They ate their chicken nuggets. They walked through the public entrance to the lake. They stood by the lake and saw the white moon reflecting in the dark water. They saw how you could see the outlines of the dark green pines against the black sky, even at night, if you looked real hard.
As the night went on, the group went through all the phases of drinking folks First, they were excited. Then, they were tipsy and laughing. Then, they felt like getting wild. Then, they told each other how much they all loved one another, and how they were all best friends, and how this was the best night of their lives.
Then they got sad about good times gone by. Then they became angry, and a fight almost broke out. Then they made up and promised never to fight again. Then they realized that the night was coming to an end, even though they didn't want it to.
At 3am in the morning, Jim went to his car and brought back a cherry bomb to explode. He figured that if the night was coming to an end, he ought to do one last memorable thing. He lit the firework fuse with his cigarette lighter. The party goers moved back and watched as the fuse fizzled further and further down, sizzling, and then, BOOM! The group shouted with glee, hugged, and began to say their goodbyes.
Just then an angry neighbor who was shook out of a deep sleep by the cherry bomb came shuffling down the road in his robe carrying a flashlight. "Hey, what are you all doing out here at this time of night!" shouted the neighbor.
"I'm calling the police!" The neighbor tromped back to his house.
The gang knew this meant they'd better hurry. Three youngsters had stopped drinking a few hours earlier so they could drive. Everybody piled into the cars and took off. But they were in such a big hurry that they failed to clean up their mess and they left a terrible trash heap in the drainage canal.
Next day, I was doing a lap around the lake with my wife and kids, when we came across the garbage heap. Two days earlier, I had seen a couple of my neighbors out there with garbage bags cleaning up a similar mess in this drainage canal.
It is a popular place for youngsters to gather and drink.
The neighbors doing the cleaning were a couple of older folks, one of whom, the husband, recently had a kidney transplant and is supposed to be taking it easy. They couldn't stand the mess though and felt they had to do something about it.
That's kind of how I see things too. I hate to see garbage on the ground, especially somewhere so pretty as near a lake in the woods. I told my family that when we got back to the house, I was going to bring garbage bags over to clean up the mess. The fact that we didn't make the mess in the first place didn't change the fact that somebody needed to clean it up.
If not me, then who?
Probably my neighbor who should be resting would come back out, and that struck me as not right. Also, I've got a theory that it is actually a blessing to do this kind of work. I believe that good works bolster a good life and the more good works you can do, the better your life will be.
Therefore, the chance to clean up something like this is in reality a chance to improve one's life. It isn't a hindrance.
When I got back to the house, I was reminded of a good leadership lesson. Leading by example gains many more followers than issuing commands. I wanted my boys to come and help me, so they'll get in the practice of doing good works.
I could have said, "Hey boys, go inside and get garbage bags right now. You're coming with me to pick up trash." Instead, I said, "I'm going to pick up that mess. Anybody want to come along?" All opted in, and while we were there, I took the photo..
Here is the final thing I want to say.
If my children remember one thing about their old man after I am dead and gone, I hope it is this. I hope they remember that I hardly ever walked by trash that I didn't pick up.
Somebody's got to do this work if we want to live in a beautiful community. You can blame the youngsters who made the mess and say that they're the ones who should have cleaned it up.
That would be fair and totally correct. But youngsters not acting right probably isn't going away anytime soon.
Think back on old Mercutio and Tybalt. The problem has been around a while and appears to have solid legs underneath it.
That being the case, somebody's got to pick up the mess. The only other option is to live in squalor, and that I refuse to do.
If I remember one thing about my dad when he is gone it will be that he never, ever, quit. He is the most persistent son of a gun I've ever seen.
And my older brother never accepts less than perfection in his work.
Thats why our chocolate is so good.
I hope my kids remember that I tried to keep the world beautiful. That would be a good legacy.
What will they say about you?
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!