When I was about 12 years old, my dad and I were on our way to soccer practice after picking up a teammate. On the way out of my teammate’s neighborhood, I threw a piece of chewed gum out the window. My dad slammed on the brakes and put the car in reverse. He told me that we do not litter and to get out of the car and find the piece of gum that I had thrown. Yes, he was serious. I reluctantly got out of the car and searched through the gravel on the side of the road looking for my gum. After about 5 minutes of searching and whining, I found my gum. Needless to say, I have not littered since!
I had to laugh to myself yesterday when I did almost the same thing to Mason’s friend, Luka. We were walking to my office, and the girls had been eating apples. When I looked at Luka at one point, I noticed she was not carrying an apple anymore. I asked her what happened to it. She shrugged her shoulders. I told her that we do not litter, and that on the way back home we would be searching for that apple to pick up and put in the trash. Luckily on the way home, Mason noticed the apple in the street. Luka had to pick up the dirty apple and take it home to put in the trash. Who knows if she learned the lesson as well as I did 20 years ago, but I hope it made a small impact. I know my dad was laughing from above.
Tomorrow is October 7th. For many people, it is just another day. But for me, it was the day that changed my life forever 17 years ago. To my dad – I love you and miss you. And I cherish all of our memories together, even the “finding chewed gum on the side of the road” ones.