They were a ragtag gaggle of patriots.
Somewhere north of Bynumville and Bee Branch, in the middle of an unicorporated area named for the Mussel Fork creek that runs through it, I met a most diverse group of Mussel Forkers. Our close encounter startled me.
I crested a hill and nearly collided with a boy and a wheelchair. The boy wasn’t in the wheelchair. He was pushing the empty chair along the narrow highway, a bizarre visual out in the middle of nowhere, easily five miles from any town. I waved, and kept driving the four more miles of pavement to the end of the road, then turned around to retrace my route. Cresting that same hill from the other side, I was surprised to find the boy, now sitting in the wheelchair, had been joined by several accomplices, each demonstrating a unique preference for locomotion…an elderly gentleman on horseback, a man riding an all-terrain vehicle flying four flags evoking love or hate depending on your point of view, and a dog, on all fours, of course.
All were in the middle of the road, maybe for safety, since there are more coyotes than cars along this stretch of road. The group made a bizarre parade, a modern version of the tattered fife and drum corps in the famous Yankee Doodle painting. I slowed, waved, and waded through the Mussel Forkers, wishing them safe passage. Then I saw the blue highway sign proclaiming that the trash along this stretch of road is picked up by the Mussel Fork Snipe Hunting Association.
I can’t recall they had trash bags. Maybe they were practicing trash pickup. Or maybe they were hunting the elusive snipe. As we all know, you don’t need a weapon or a bag, or anything else to hunt snipe.
Meanwhile, a storm moved upon us. I drove on.
It’s a sad truth. Picking up somebody else’s trash is one consequence of our long simmering Civil War.
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