The Rev. Eugene Stockstill

Call this my rant.

I’m not sure when it first outright offended me. I have a feeling it had to do with settling down in one place. At some point, I started to notice all the litter along the roadsides of our pretty village in western Union County. And yes, it offended me. Still does.

Believe it or not, in an age in which how you walk or breathe has a good chance of offending someone, genuine offenses still exist. An unwillingness to offer common courtesy to others, especially in the public-service sector, offends basic human decency. “You should always say ‘thank you,’ or at least say ‘please’” (from the song “Conjunction Junction”). Maybe Schoolhouse Rock videos should become compulsory?

Another action that escapes rationalization? Littering. There is no excuse on God’s green earth for flowering the planet with half-full lunch bags, boxes of beer cans, old pieces of plumbing and used mattresses (!??). Have you ever seen a huge sack of garbage that someone took the time to bag up, then chucked it out a car window?

A few months ago, some of us cleared out several blocks, and a funny thing started to happen. I started to feel happier. I think you call it joy? Some of the inmates in Union County made a litter pick-up tour the last two weeks, and the same thing happened.

A heartfelt plea to North Mississippians everywhere (and the rest of the state, in case someone from the Coast happens to read this): If one household every two to three blocks would adopt some of a road or street to keep litter-free, we could knock out the problem in a month. Why care? Litter chokes the planet. Kills it. Take a look at a litter-filthy beach, and you’ll see why. Besides, can you think of greater hypocrisy than calling yourself a believer, then using the world as your own private garbage can? Take care of the planet (Genesis 1). That’s the first command the Creator gave humans.

In the words of Dak Prescott, “Can it, Mississippi!”

The Rev. Eugene Stockstill is pastor of Ebenezer United Methodist Church and Myrtle United Methodist Church in Union County.

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