What to do with a very active granddaughter (3 1/2) when her mother is in Berlin being extremely chic and Euro:
Pick up Litter.
You probably thought I was going to suggest indoor polo or making birdfeeders with pinecones and peanut butter or reading the oeuvre of Beatrix Potter.
But as it turned out, litter collection our favorite activity. We live on a busy street, and though we are far enough away from the road not to be troubled by it, this does mean that on the other side of the stone wall there is Litter. I hate litter. Of the many ills that plague our world, it seems to me entirely preventable and unnecessary (Arguably, right up there with malaria and female genital mutilation). Not that the folks who drive by and toss out half-eaten burritos inside their plastic clamshells, or light beer cans, pay me any mind.
So once a week I take one of my recycled grocery bags and head down the driveway and walk along the road picking up the discarded treasures.
This past weekend, I took along beloved granddaughter. She insisted on her own recycled grocery bag. I insisted she wear her mittens. And she loved picking up litter. Nothing pleased her more than pouncing upon an offending plastic wrapper. I picked up a soggy newspaper; she thought we should share in this bounty. From there on, every piece of litter had to be divided in two. (Note: Good for the environment; good lesson about sharing.) Since much of it was soggy, ripping or tearing in half was not a problem. I ceded individual soda cans to her. Then we got to the torn porn. Rather than having been tossed from a moving vehicle, I assumed this was flotsam from a neighbor’s recycling or garbage bin. There were several pages torn from a magazine that apparently featured naked females in a variety of creative positions in unlikely settings. Granddaughter thought we should divide these as well. I had qualms about which half of the naked female anatomy should end up in her trash bag. (I decided on the top half.)
I just thank the Litter Gods that on that particular outing there were no used condoms.