Monday, February 6, 2012

Woodsy Owl

Day 124
I blame Woodsy. 

Do you remember Woodsy Owl?  That 1970’s iconic character who asked us all to “give a hoot”?  He marched purposefully through the woods as kids skipped behind him happily picking up discarded cans and litter. 

I wanted to be one of those kids.  I can skip, I’d think.  I can pick up trash! 

I wanted Woodsy to know I gave a hoot. 

Flash forward thirty (or so) years.  It’s wet and cold and I’m regretting not wrapping a scarf around my neck as the boys and I walk towards the high school gym for F.'s lacrosse clinic.  I see a flash of white and I’m off like a shot.  I chase the McDonald’s bag across three spaces before I reach down and grab it.

“Nice catch, Mom,” I. says. 

I give him a smile which grows into an idea.      

My kids love to hear stories from when I was “their size”.  I sing to them Free to Be You and Me.  I reenact my first grade ballet recital when I fell off the stage.  A captive audience, they beg for more.  I hate to disappoint. 

I explain in painstaking detail who Woodsy Owl is and why people needed him.  (Thank you, You Tube.)  In the 70s, people dumped trash everywhere, I say.  I remember seeing drivers toss trash from car windows barreling down the interstate for goodness sake.  We needed Woodsy.      

Together the boys and I sing, “So who’ll help Woodsy spread the word, never be a dirty bird.  No matter where you go, you can let some people know.  Give a hoot, don’t pollute.  Never be a dirty bird.  In the city or in the woods, help keep America looking good!” 

His message rings true today.  At 41, I realize I’d still skip happily behind him picking up trash.  

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