With late Spring comes rain, beautiful wildflowers and Mothers Day. What a wonderful Mothers Day gift it would be to take pictures of your children in a field of Bluebonnets. This is what was going through my head as I was driving down I-45 in Texas. And then I saw it! There it was! An absolutely picturesque backdrop. A bright blue Texas sky, fluffy green Mesquite trees and a foreground of a virtual blanket of Bluebonnets that extended as far as the eye could see. And right smack dab in the middle of those Bluebonnets was big, white rolled-up diaper.

I must admit, at first I laughed out loud. Clearly in shock at the contrast of the bright white ball of man-made plastic amidst the beautiful, natural setting. And later, when recalling the image, it made me mad. Someone snapped that family photo, and left their calling card. A loaded diaper. The calling card of a trash hound!
In hind-sight, I should have taken a picture of it with my smart phone and sent the image to the Don’t Mess With Texas.org website. They could have featured it on their home page. And, yes, I do have a smart phone. I don’t know how to use it. A chimp can probably work  a smart phone, but not me. It should be against the law to own one if you don’t know how to work it. Well, at least I don’t use it while I’m driving…just because I don’t know how. I saw a guy yesterday who was talking on his smart phone, while driving in his smart car. And I was thinking that guy’s probably a smart a$$.
I didn’t take a picture. But this experience did encourage me to research the Adopt a Highway Program. Did you know this program actually started in the Lone Star State? I didn’t. In fact, the first adopted highway was in Tyler, Texas back in 1984. The Tyler Civitan Club was the first group to volunteer, adopting a two-mile stretch of Highway 69.
Within months more than 50 groups in the region had joined the program, which quickly spread nationwide. March 9 is National Adopt-A-Highway day. And we just celebrated our 25th Anniversary. Now, more than 4,500 groups across the state are keeping Texas beautiful. The program saves taxpayers money as well as keeping right of ways clear of debris. With volunteers doing the work, the state is able to use more tax dollars on highway beautification rather than on trash pickup.
It’s a free, easy way for groups to help their communities. The way the program works, you adopt a two-mile stretch of highway for a minimum of two years. You agree to pick up litter four times a year (more in high traffic areas). Adopt-a-Highway signs will be posted with your group’s name at your adopted section. Adopt-a-Highway provides your volunteers with safety vests, litter bags and safety training.
Who should adopt? Individuals, families, youth organizations, businesses, schools … oh, yes, and that lazy mother who likes to leave her kid’s loaded diapers on the side of the road. Trash hound!
Until next week…get involved…and make it pretty.
Daun Thompson