To the Editor:
I’ve picked up a lot of litter around my house on Main Avenue over most of my life. There are just too many people who could care less about leaving you their mess. I sometimes think I’ll put up a sign: “Be Brave: Bring Your Trash Home.” Or, “I’m Not Your Mother – Give Your Trash To Her.” Candy wrappers from the convenience store over the bridge; even a beat-up life preserver fallen from a boat; a busted windshield from an old VW Bug that had been in an accident; drink cans and bottles; cigarette butts by the hundreds; and, one day years ago, a trash truck speeding over a bump in front of my house dumped hospital gloves, intravenous lines and bandages on my front lawn.
Rarely there is justice – as a few months ago when I went out onto George Arden Avenue to pick up some hamburger wrappers and found that the idiot slob had also thrown out a ten-dollar bill. Thank you! It’s always an exercise in exasperation. Some of the waste finds its way into my shrubs and trees, making the job a real test of survival. Two young women stopped their car on George Arden. They were laughing as they scooped out onto the street debris mixed with something they had spilled. For once I caught someone in the act and started a tirade on “why do I have to pick up your trash?” The girls responded indignantly. They picked up the trash with scowling looks and unbelief that someone would ask them to clean up their own slobber.
On Memorial Day Eve Sunday with my U.S., R.I. and military service flags flying on my front porch, this ritual went from maddening to somber. As I went around the street perimeter of my house, I saw a plastic store bag tied at the top and picked it up. It was unusually heavy for lunch wrappers. The content was about nine inches long. I noticed what appeared to be hairs through the semi-transparency of the bag. I carefully cut the knot off and inside was the beautiful body of a puppy. There was blood on his nose. He looked like a boxer mix. His perfect paws were the size of my little finger. I wanted to sob for this poor creature – and sometime I will.
The policeman asked if I could bury it on my property, otherwise it would have to wait until Tuesday. That was no problem for me. It would be decently handled in its freedom from one of our own terrorists. Some say that dogs don’t go to Heaven – well, if that’s true, then Heaven is not for me.
David Cole Matteson Sr.