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Last Remaining Innocence Shattered

Running along Route 30 yesterday, a curious sight: an elderly couple, car parked on the shoulder, walking carefully along either side of the road as they studied the grass. The man wore wide red suspenders and walked slowly, bow-legged; the woman was heavy and wore a blue pastel sundress. She carried a metal cane that bloomed out at the end into four rubber-heeled grippers.

At first I thought they were mushroom picking ( we are fresh after a drenching rain ) - each one carried a small canvas bag, and the grass was certainly lush enough. Then I saw the man pick up a plastic bottle lying in the grass, and look at it closely. Carrying in my own hand a plastic drinking bottle ( which I fully intended to jettison as soon as it was empty ), I felt a mixture of wistfulness and guilt.

"How wonderful", I thought, " Older people who care, who remember the days when these were dirt roads little travelled; older people who despite the pains of age and their own obvious infirmity are clearing litter from the road".

And then I saw the man chuck the bottle deep into the woods, and pick up another. He brought it up to his face, squinting at the label. No five cent deposit - so into the woods it went.

Recycling mercenaries!

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