Giving A Hand Not What I Expected


This morning nine members of the Hope Valley Garden Club assembled at Elizabeth Wiener’s house to get our orange vests, black spider gloves and official road side trash collection bags to help with trash pick up week. Our garden club has volunteered to pick up trash along the sides of the road before and I thought it was a fun way to be with friends, get some exercise and do good at the same time. And who can deny that the orange vest is not a big enticement?
Last time we did this job we were assigned about a half a mile of busy road to clean. We must have done an exceptional job because this time we were given University Drive from DA middle school all the way down to Thai Cafe, a good mile and a half. It seemed like a daunting task.
Elizabeth, ever the organizer had laid out the vests with a pair of gloves on top of each on her front steps. After we had had suited up she had us each pick a playing card from a select group she held in her hand and told not to look at them. Of course I looked before I was supposed to, but I don’t know what difference it made, I did not have any other cards in my pocket to change with. I had the Jack of hearts and after all the cards were picked we were told that we would work in pairs according to our suit. My partner was Beth Sholtz, my birthday partner and good friend. This turned out to be important later.
Beth and I were assigned the north side on University starting at DA. Renee Hodges and Kay Peters took the south side. Starting at the Thai Cafe end was Elizabeth Wiener and Carolyn Sloate on the south and Thecky Pappas, Betsy Ross and Esten Walker on the north. We all started working from our own ends and picked up trash and recyclables until we met in the middle.
This was only a fun job because I had a friend to talk to while we gathered trash, cigarette butts, cans and bottle people had thoughtlessly discarded. The worst things to pick up were the cigarette butts and those little plastic ends from cheep swisher sweet type cigars. As if smoking is not gross enough the people who do it need to realize butts are not biodegradable and not throw them out the window of their car.
About half way down our side of the road Beth and I came upon a cedar tree with branches to the ground that had a lot of trash blown into the trunk. Our arms were not long enough to reach in and get all the plastic bags and beer cans that had congregated inside the tree. Beth brilliantly used a stick to pull things out. I just pushed my way in like a bull in a china shop. What I did not realize is that the rain starved tree’s cedar needles were very brittle and as I was bending over trying to grab the old paper wrapped around the branches I felt a huge bunch of prickly needles go down the back of my jeans.
I stood up and felt like I had a thousand little needles sticking me in the butt. In the most unlady like way, right there on the side of the road I put my hand down the back of my pants but since I was wearing jeans I was unable to dislodge many needles. Beth, being a mother of four and grandmother to two wasted no time and came right over and stuck her hand down my pants while telling me to pull the pant legs away from my full thighs and shake my leg at the same time. With her hand down the back of my jeans, palm towards the pockets she shock me so hard we looked like two dogs mating by the side of the road. Anyone driving by would certainly wonder if two crazy women with Alzheimer’s had escaped from their lock down. Only the orange vest distinguished us as non-runaways.
After a minute of shaking I told Beth we had done the best we could do together and I had to work on the needles inside my underpants myself. The goods is the nine of us were able to clean the whole road in an hour and the needles in my underpants went no farther. Saying we are a close knit garden club is probably an understatement.   

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