Monday, April 20, 2015

Starting a bandwagon rolling...

This morning my neighbour, Mary Anne, and I came across a sight that caused us some dismay. Near one of our favourite park walkways, someone had held a party, complete with party poppers. In case you've never run across party poppers before (I hadn't, and hope I never do again!) they are little tubes with spring loaded cartridges that shoot tiny bits of sparkly plastic ribbon into the air. You can probably get them at the dollar store, but please don't! They're one of human beings' worst inventions, right up there with confetti mixed with glitter and other stuff that's disposed of for no reason other than human glee or convenience.

We walked past the mess as we started our walk, muttering about people who litter, and on our way home, the universe sent one of those handy but unsightly, blowing-on-the-wind-plastic-grocery-bags across my path. So when we got back to the party poppers site, we bent down and started picking up a thousand little bits of ribbon. Slippery stuff, hard to grab, sticking to our fingers, caught between blades of grass. Sort of like picking needles from haystacks, but not so sharp, thank heavens. It seemed an overwhelming task, as the stuff was spread out in a fifteen foot diameter circle -- but we were determined.

We weren't there for three minutes when an elderly gentleman, likely in his eighties, came walking along with his dog and started to help, though he had two artificial knees that wouldn't allow him to bend very well. Two more people came along and asked what we were doing, but didn't stay to lend a hand. Then another dog walker came, joking that we all must be picking up the tiniest doggie doos in the world on our hands and knees. When he saw how much we still had to collect, he knelt and helped too. Two more walkers joined us, and about fifteen minutes after Mary Anne and I started, the park was back to its natural state. No more tiny, sparkly bits of ribbon blowing around on the grass or ending up in magpies' nests, and we had collected a half-bag of the stuff.

Party poppers should be outlawed!

We were all pleased with our effort to restore the space to a litter-free place, especially the elderly gent, who makes it his mission to collect garbage in the park on a regular basis, and who commented that Wednesday is Earth Day!

On the way home, I found myself wondering -- if we hadn't started the little clean-up project this morning, would anyone else have? It would have been too much for the elderly fellow on his own. Once he started, he wasn't about to give up, though, artificial knees be darned. Sometimes it only takes one or two committed people to start a bandwagon rolling, and others jump on.

Seen any bandwagons lately that you might give a push?


  1. Your fabulous post reminds me that the great leaders are not necessarily the folks who are leading in the front. They are the ones who welcome the next people to join. "The first follower turns a lone nut into a leader. ... Now it's not a two nuts, three is a crowd and a crowd is news."


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