Sunshine at Last

Don Sweetenham


After all the December rains leading up to New Year’s Eve, it finally stopped and the sun came out. A little grudgingly at first, it seemed, but it is still there. And thank the Lord for that! I was beginning to think that the rain would never stop, particularly when the lake water surface was level with the top of my sea-wall and it was still pouring down. Even the ducks were seeking shelter under the swing. The back yard was a swamp and I quite expected to see more than one alligator out there. The one that is out there is showing some serious signs of age now but he’s made out of concrete and has been there for almost 20 years. He’s not the only one getting old and showing it. I can barely get down the back steps and across to the shed to get the ducks their daily ration of dog food. Somehow I make it but I’m not much good for anything else for the rest of the day. Of all the Muscovy ducks we raised in the back yard last year, only about 14 or 15 regularly turn up to be fed. So I’m hoping that many of the others have survived to have their own families in other parts of the lake this year. We still have the five big, tough looking male birds as “residents.” They were the “Authorities” who kept the duck population in check during the crazy days of Spring when there were young ducks all over the place. At that time it seemed that we were almost knee-deep in ... well, you know what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

A few minutes ago, a flight of about a dozen Canada geese flew past at about twenty feet altitude, led by the sole pure white goose who has been leading the youngsters on their training flights for about the last five years. I guess they’re preparing for some heavy Winter weather, in case they have to get away from here. They really work hard on these flying exercises and it’s good to see that they have a dedicated teacher. He rarely allows his pupils to join in the afternoon picnic at Duck Depot and I suppose he’s trying to keep his charges fit and trim. Occasionally he will bring them around after the residents have had their fill and allow them to clean up any left-overs. It’s not much, believe me, but it’s better than nothing.

Well, now I have some more gripes to get off my chest. I know I’ve referred to this problem before but I’m going to repeat myself, anyway. I’m sure you know what to do to stop my “belly-achin.” Before I started this column, I took a ride up to Ingles store in Ellenwood to get some items that I had forgotten yesterday. That’s right, it’s the old trash problem again. As I turned from East Atlanta road onto the road which runs alongside Kroger’s parking lot I noticed all the trash that was lying in the grass on the road-side. For some reason, that is a hot-spot for trash. And then I saw one of the reasons! Coming towards me was a garbage collection truck which must have been traveling at the full speed limit of forty-five m.p.h. with pieces of paper, cartons and other trash items flying off the top of the load which had no cover over it. Surely there must be a law to stop that sort of thing?

But even if there isn’t, common sense should determine that tossing out trash and littering the countryside does nothing towards beautifying the neighborhood. I have a suggestion for those who might not agree with me. Set up house in the local dump and enjoy the proximity of all the trash you could wish for.*

D.J. Sweetenham, originally from England, is the author of Bumps in the Road and Bumps in the Road - Part Two, highlights of his interesting and far-flung life. D.J., his wife, and two small dogs, live in Stockbridge.