I have adopted many things in my life, mostly abandoned kittens and geriatric cats, but now I have taken on something unusual – at least for me. I have adopted a road. Fountain Hills Road to be exact.
To find it, go north on Stockton Hill Road to the first cattle guard and take a right. That’s it, my baby. Though it’s not furry and it doesn’t purr, I’m still a proud road mother. (Maybe I should find a term that doesn’t make me sound like a hog-riding, leather-bar queen.)
Why that road, you might ask. Because on my daily walks, I got tired of seeing all the trash tossed by uncaring litterers. I said to myself, “Someone should do something.” And then I thought, “Hey, you’re someone.”
On my next walk, I brought a huge garbage bag. I picked up 40-ounce bottles of Miller’s Draft, 24-ounce tallboys of Budweiser, plastic grocery bags, crushed soda cans, empty cigarette packs, rusty tins of chewing tobacco, McDonald’s bags, and string cheese wrappers. I retrieved so much detritus that the bag got too heavy to carry. I felt like a reverse Santa, only sweatier. That’s when I made a desperate 911 call to my husband, “Frank, help! Bring the truck!”
After that overflowing bag of offal, I thought my next walk would be a trash-free joy to my senses. Boy, was I wrong. Actually – tallboy. Somehow the Miller’s bottles, Budweiser cans, and string cheese wrappers were back. I picked them up again, but these three castoffs reappeared every day. I began to wonder if I’d stumbled upon some evil scientist’s captive breeding program.
Not to name call – no, forget it – let’s name call, I dubbed these dumpers the Miller Marauder, the Budweiser Bandit and the String Cheese Stinker. And to you three – you know who you are – I have one thing to say: “Stop it! One man’s trash is another man’s – a trash!”
Kingman is blessed with such spectacular scenery – especially the magical, Chamber of Commerce view from the top of Fountain Hills Road looking across the valley to the Peacock and Hualapai mountains – why do you want to spoil it?
In my neighborhood I’m getting a reputation as the lady (hopefully not the Crazy Lady) who cleans up the road. When people drive by they wave and give me a thumbs up. Neighbors I don’t even know thank me. Though I enjoy their encouragement, because I live here only part of the year, I worried that my adoptive road, suffering from separation anxiety when I was gone, would again pile up with garbage.
On my first return trip to Kingman after a two-month absence, I expected my road to be in a horrible state. But it was pristine. Someone or some many had literally picked up where I left off. And to them I say, “Thank you.”
It reminded me that it only takes one person to motivate others into action. Now when I pass neighbors on my walk, they’re proud to show me that they too are pitching in. They’ll pull squashed beer cans out of their pockets and flash a smiling thumbs-up.
Our road looks good all the time now, which gave me an idea. If everyone in Kingman adopted just one road, or a small section of a road, or even an empty lot, in no time at all the whole city would be sparkling clean.
Please, let’s all pitch in and adopt this idea. (Thumbs up.)