The pickle: Picking up after litterbug Hurricane Matthew

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By Lee Scott

As I was hanging off my dock the other day a wild man came running towards me screaming, “STOP! Do not pick up that wood!” 

I proceeded to lasso the end of the broken pole and secured it to the side of the dock.  

The man yelling was my spouse. 

I thought he had already gone to the hardware store, but he must have forgotten something because there he was flailing his arms at me to stop. 

We have gotten this routine down pretty well. He leaves the house and I go out to the dock and see what piece of floating dock debris I can fish out of the water. 

He has estimated that since Hurricane Matthew, I have pulled out enough wood to build an entire dock. “I cannot help it!” I say to him. “It is an obsession.” 

I hate to see this junk floating in the water. His argument back to me is that he is the one who has to haul it to the dump all the time. Which is not true, because a lot of times, I just do it myself so we do not have to have this same conversation. 

I am on a personal crusade.  

The debris is floating down from islands all over the Lowcountry. The tides snatch it from the shores and send it out to the surrounding waterways. It makes me nervous to see boats flying up and down the creek dodging the wreckage. 

When a neighbor pointed out to me that it was the boat owner’s responsibility if he hit something. I responded, “That is not the point. If there are volunteers picking up litter along our highways, why can’t boaters and waterfront property owners help to pick up the debris in our waterways?”   

On this particular day, the piece I was pulling up was too big for me.  

“What would you have done if I had not been here?” my spouse asked.  

“I would have had to wait for you,” I said, knowing, in the back of my mind, that he always helps me when I need him. 

He shook his head as we both dragged the broken piling out of the water. 

In the meantime, I just wait for another opportunity when he is leaving the house and remember to say to him casually, “Honey, just leave the truck for me today.”