It’ll Drive You To Drink
By John R. Greenwood
It’s a short little road, not more than a half-a-mile long. I’ve lived on it since 1981 when there were just a few homes. I remember it being a dirt road in the 60’s when Pepper’s Turkey Farm was a thriving family business. Now it’s the NYS Thruway of my neighborhood. I’m not against growth and progress. What I do wish, is that people would take more pride in the neighborhood where they live.
Today is the last week of 2018 in the foothills of the Adirondacks and it’s 40 degrees out, with no snow in sight. Its Saturday morning and a walk around my 1.5 mile block seemed like a nice way to start the day. I grabbed my music and headed down the road. There’s a short stretch of my road that is lined with a tall grove of pines. Its part of the original Farone family farm. Fortunately the property remains in the family. It’s the same spot where I almost walked into the side of a black bear lumbering across the road this summer. I’ve spent my life exploring the Adirondacks, but my most exciting wildlife experience came just a few hundred yards out my backdoor. In that very same spot is where I took the photographs you see here. Last fall there was a noticeable increase in alcohol related litter around the entire perimeter of my block. In this particular spot it seems to have tripled in just a few months. The sight sickened me. The fact that this debris field surrounds a bright yellow “Children In Area” sign angers me! The anger is compounded by the fact that not only is this person using my neighborhood for a literal dump, they are also behind the wheel of a car knocking back a bottle of wine while children play, joggers run, and people walk just a few feet away—people who want to enjoy the beauty of where they live. This is not just a neighborhood problem, it’s a problem with our current society in general. Society is rapidly being divided into people who care about more than just themselves and people who only care about themselves. It’s a divide that is widening by the minute.
I’m not sure how we right this ship, but I do know how I intend to address it in my little corner of the world. I decided to informally adopt my little road and with every walk I’ll collect a bag of litter. Today I started by filling a small bag with the single serve wine bottles I found in just a 20’ swath under the “Children In Area" sign. On my next walk I’ll bring a bigger bag, and maybe, just maybe my neighborhood wino will pass by without running me over. And maybe, just maybe a spark of self-respect will overcome them. And maybe, just maybe, they will find it in their heart to make the extra effort going forward to throw their bottles in the trash and not the side of a country road.