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GOOD WORKS ON A COS COB TWO-LANE BLACK TOP


Cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, and speeding cars are regular visitors along the remote section of road bordering the Mianus River where we live. Today, something else joined that group. Spied from a distance, my wife could not quite figure out what she was seeing. She called my attention to it as we breakfasted. “Look there behind that big oak near the road,” she said. Searching together in the near distance, we saw a man and a boy—one very tall, the other short—emerging from behind that tree; each armed with a yellow plastic bag. We wondered, as the duo slowly moved towards us, stooping and picking up unseen objects, whether they might be collecting specimens for the boy’s science project? As they continued to amble slowly towards our house, we realized, to our surprise and delight, what it is they were doing—picking up discarded cans and bottles thrown from passing car windows. We were so taken by this unexpected act of good citizenry, one which until this moment only we and possibly our closest neighbor had engaged in, that these two still bath-robed Seniors quickly exited the house and excitedly walked towards the two environmental good Samaritans. Both of us smiling so as not to alarm the pair with our appearance, we called to them letting them know how thrilled we were with the exceptional public service they were doing . We introduced ourselves. Joe, the father, introduced himself and, in turn, presented Lucca, his son. Joe said they were on a simple mission—to help keep the area free of liter. They were, we quickly learned, near neighbors, living about a ¼ mile northeast of us. At the dad’s suggestion, they had been walking from home picking up discarded containers. We had never seen them before in the year we have lived here. We probably would never have met but for this chance encounter in which a simple neighborly act had brought us together. As Joe and Lucca departed, Lucca with a bag brimming full of cans and bottles, and Joe, his pocket stuffed with extra bags, we could hear the dad, say, “See, Lucca, I told you that people really do care about what we’re doing. “ Returning to our house, we finished our reheated breakfast reflecting on how Joe and Lucca’s uncomplicated act had reaffirmed our own decades-old beliefs in the place that apparent unrewarded “ good works” for the common good had and continue to have for society

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