I’ve written before about my hobby: picking up garbage on the sidewalks and gutters of Belmont. It makes me happy. Today I left home for the Diner on Main Street a half hour early since I knew there’d be an aftermath from Sunday’s Santa Claus Parade.
I was right. I picked up about 130 cigarette butts on my trip south, plus assorted candy wrappers … and one complete chocolate bar! My goal used to be to find lots of butts, sort of like a sports event. Now I’m older and wiser. The goal is zero. However, today it wasn’t meant to be.
On the return journey, I found that the northerly citizens of Belmont were just as prolific as the southerly ones. I was in mid-stoop when I caught a glimpse of a mauve rectangle ahead, nestled against some wet leaves in the gutter. My eyes widened. It was a ten dollar bill. On previous trips, I’d stumbled upon a quarter here, a dime there, but this was verging on the miraculous.
The thought came … find the owner. Okay, now how exactly am I supposed to do that? Knock on a few doors, have folks check in their wallets and purses, and figure out if they’re short a ten spot? Ah … no.
Nearby, two fellows were talking on the sidewalk. I held up the bill, looked at one of them and said “Would you like this?” And from what deep recess of my mind did that thought come? I know I’m altruistic, but still. The gentleman laughed and replied “No way. You deserve it. You’re the one picking up litter.” Okay, point taken. I returned the smile and placed Sir John A. Macdonald in my back pocket.
As I finished my walk home, that little piece of plastic money weighed me down. “You don’t deserve it, Bruce. It’s stealing. Give it to charity.” And other mumbo jumbo. Finally I just accepted its presence in my life. It’s a gift from the ether. Some unknown force wants me to have ten dollars. I need to accept it with grace. By the time I put key into lock, the money was truly mine.
I think of other gifts, especially people’s kind words and deeds. “Put them in your back pocket too, Bruce. And say thank you.” Hmm. Good advice.