Turning roadside trash into lunch

Roadside trashThe plastic bag was full of cheese, sliced ham, and fresh bread. On my regular walks along the roads of Mount Vernon, I carry two bags: one for trash and one for returnable bottles and cans. In less than a mile, I can usually fill up the large trash bag.

One day last week, I found that plastic bag full of food. I don’t think it had been there long, because the critters hadn’t gotten into it. So I asked my Facebook friends if they would like to join me for lunch. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to join me for this new version of a roadside lunch.

Road slobs irritate and infuriate me. My woodlot on Route 41 includes about 2000 feet of road frontage and is trashed every day. I have written about this problem many times, including a column in my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, published last year by Islandport Press in Yarmouth.

This year, the legislature enacted a bill sponsored at my request by Representative Ellie Espling. It expands the landowner relations program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, including a new program called Keep Maine Clean, designed to engage folks like me who pick up trash along the roads and in the fields and forests.

One element of the Keep Maine Clean program will be a monthly contest with prizes for the most unusual items picked up by KMC participants. I got that idea after I found one particularly unusual item on my woodlot, a place that some people consider, apparently, to be the town dump.

In that column about picking up roadside trash, I described the unusual item:

Something shiny blinks at me and I reach down to pick up what appears to be a plastic container for a condom – sans condom. The language is foreign but the word SEX is there along with a photo of a naked couple enjoying – Ahem. No, I did not linger over the photo.

If you’d like to read the rest of this column, buy my book! But please, please, please, don’t toss it out of the car onto my woodlot!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.