Check your trash

Human beings are disgusting, nasty creatures.
Fluids exude from every orifice of our bodies. Our eyes run with water. Our ears flow with sticky wax. Our noses drip with mucus. Our skin becomes wet when we exert too much physical activity or when we become anxious. Our mouths spew particles into the air when we cough or sneeze. Our stomachs grumble when we are hungry and throws up the food when it is upset. We snort, burp, belch and pass gas.
We are walking, talking petri dishes of germs and disease and overall foulness.
However we make every effort to disguise how repulsive we are to the world and to others.
We bathe and wash our hair. We brush our teeth and clean our clothes. We cover our mouths and noses when we cough or sneeze. And we go to the extreme of using a separate room with a door when we need to relieve ourselves. We appear embarrassed if we snort, burp or pass gas in public.
The lengths we go to camouflage our revolting personal nature knows no bounds.
Yet while we are in a continual mode of self-disinfection, it would seem we are bound and determined to make the world around us as dirty and horrible as our true nature.
Recently, the members of the Cleveland Board of Aldermen were shocked to see images of the trash and refuge, which rain water and residential sewage, had carried to the city's pumping stations. Among the items washed into the system were rags and a pair of pantyhose. Keith Christopher, director of Inframark, which manages the city's sewer/water system, said the pantyhose had been flushed down a toilet and that around $50,000 had been spent on repairs during the rain. 
Days later photos were sent to The Bolivar Commercial of two refrigerators dumped into a ditch filled with water. The photographer said numerous other large items could be seen throughout Bolivar County, strewn along roadways.
Why would anyone flush pantyhose down a toilet when logic dictates a wastebasket most likely existed somewhere in the home? Why would anyone push home appliances down an embankment when again logic dictates the items were most likely loaded onto a truck and could just as easily been taken to the county dump or the salvage yard?
But being the beastly creatures we are, we think nothing of dropping a cigarette package wrapper out a car window; throwing fast food bags into the street; or flinging aluminum cans into a neighbor's yard.
If we go to extremes to keep ourselves fresh and tidy, why would we not do the same for our surroundings?
We pay monthly to have a waste collection company pick up our household trash. The county has a landfill for larger items, like mattresses, appliances and tires. The city sponsors an Earth Day so residents can safely discard hazardous materials, such as oil, paint and batteries.
With all these options available to us, it amazes me that we still feel the need to make our surroundings ugly. Instead of wasting money, take a few extra minutes and dispose of your trash properly. It will keep the county, city and your neighborhoods more appealing for the joys of living.


Monkey see, monkey do

Do you remember playing a game in elementary school where all the students lined up and the teacher whispered something in the first person’s ear and it had to be passed down the line? The message would go down the line as we all smiled and giggled thinking how silly this all was. Most of the time the sentence had changed tremendously by the time the last person told it out loud.

I remember playing this game and we all thought how funny it was that the information changed like it did. That really isn’t funny when doing this in real life but a great lesson about how human’s listen and repeat information.
This is why gossiping can be such a devastating evil. I am guilty of it and every person is to some degree. It seems to come naturally to most people in conversation. When does it go from friendly fact conversation to just gossip is when you start to have problems. There is a fine line.
You have to really think about information that you have heard before you repeat it. You need to be sure what you are repeating is the truth and nothing but. I understand that “juicy” gossip is more fun to talk about but it can be hurtful to someone.
Try to know the facts of what you are talking about and please don’t take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune or mistake.
I heard a speech this week asking that we as adults and parents try to do this. Try to show our kids that it is part of being a good person to not gossip, take pleasure in others bad karma and just to be kind to each other no matter what the circumstances.
Those few minutes of words really hit home with me. I am going to try to do better. I would rather be known as a nice person than someone who  hurts people’s feeling by talking “innocent gossip”.
I have grown up in this small town, I have seen the effects of what gossip can do. I have seen kids bullied, girls cry, boys fight and property damaged. That all happened almost 30 years ago and today’s kids have more ways to hurt one another.
Gossip is really just emotional bullying. Taking someone’s situation and blowing it out of proportion to make drama is not necessary. Basking in the wake of someone’s bad luck can be just pure evil that can slice a heart into a million pieces.
We all have bad times. We all have bad luck. We all make mistakes but we all know how to apologize and make amends. If we do that then there is nothing to talk about. People shouldn’t get so hyped up about what is going on in others personal business. We should all be able to hold our heads high and live to our full potential.
I tell Crawford all the time to be a nice person to everyone, no matter how the person looks, talks or sounds. He thinks I am nagging and I am in hopes that it somehow sinks through his skull into that brain of his.
He has been the subject of gossip back when he was held back in kindergarten. Some of the boys that went on to first grade would call attention to the fact that he was held back in front of other kids. It made him embarrassed and self-conscious. Some even made fun of him but I told Crawford to shake it off. In the long run he was going to be better off and it wouldn’t matter at all.
Now he is friends with the kids in his grade and the ones who advanced when he didn’t. His school life is fine again but I am sure that between now and graduation there will be other issues that he will have to deal with. But I will help guide him to stand up and do the right thing. I will try to be aware of my own actions as well. Kids learn better by watching than by listening, ever heard monkey see, monkey do! I wish that we all could do that for ourselves and for our kids.


My shining Christmas present

My plan was to wait and write a column about Crawford’s progress with reading and school in the spring but my excitement has just got me too anxious to wait.

Those who may not know, Crawford was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD several years ago. Our journey has been long, painful and frustrating but we are finally on the other side of the rugged mountain.


The gift of family

A church children’s program can somehow always put a different spin on what is going on around me. Maybe it is seeing things through the eyes of a child or because it brings the point of the whole holiday home right to your heart.
The kids dress up, sing and follow the story of Jesus’ birth. That is the reason we do all we do this season and it puts my heart on my family.
Family ... it is something we take for granted but it is something a lot of us have. We don’t just have one family; most of us have many families in our lives if we think about it.
I have my personal family, and I love mine more than anything. I have the best Mama, the greatest husband and my miracle baby. I have aunts, uncles and cousins that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
But, I have more families in my life. They all are important to me and have made me who I am today.
I have my childhood friends who I don’t see a lot but it feels like we just pick up from where we left off when I do see them. They know my past and are still my friend despite anything they may know about from when I was a kid. They helped make those skeletons in my closet and certainly don’t judge.
My church family is equally important. Most of these people have watched me grow up or have grown up with me. We have all been through the church changes, funerals, holidays and babies. It is something about a bond you have with folks that you worship God with every week. We are all there as human beings who are flawed and need forgiveness for one thing or another. Hopefully we all find the peace we need to continue on through our lifetime journey.
Crawford has given me another family. His school is a wonderful family. The administrators, teachers and staff are all a great source of friendship and caring especially for Crawford. I myself have made friends with many mothers who respect those who educate our children. We all can talk about what is going on and help each other out when someone needs it. We all want our children to be the best they can be.
Still on the school front, this year I have made another family with my fellow officers of the Patron’s League. We have all learned together about the way we need to support our school. We brainstorm together and come up with ways we can help but most of all we have fun. We do have fun even if our kids are in different levels of school because we support one goal. It shows our children the importance of volunteerism.
I wouldn’t trade my work family for anything. We laugh and cry together. We help each other out and we love each other’s kids. We know each other’s families. We spend so much time together that we all blend together. Our strengths and weaknesses balance out to where we are a great team. Most of The Bolivar Commercial is so much more than coworkers ... they are friends and some are like my siblings. We are a fun and quirky group.
While thinking about all these families that I have and some that are in my past, I am thankful for each and every one of them. This Christmas time we should reach out to each other. Think of those who have lost family or those who have sick ones. Remember the elderly who in some cases don’t have anyone to bring them joy in this time of year. Try to help a hungry child or a homeless person. These people need someone ... someone just to make them feel like they are important just because they are a part of our human race.


Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.