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Unknown soldier

by SJ Covey 10 months ago in happiness
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Thank you for everything

Unknown soldier
Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

Dear Mister Joe,

I don't know your name, I've never had the fortune to speak to you. You don't even know I exist, but I know you. In the town where we live you are a legend for those of us who love our countryside. Sneered at, and mocked by the youths who have not seen what you have and therefor don't value what you see and do.

By Amir Hosseini on Unsplash

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration you are, not only to me but to the little girl who's name I also don't know. The little girl who created containers, which she ties to fences and posts with her childish scrawl in a ziplock pouch saying. "Please help yourself to these poop bags, and take it home with you. I love where I live, and want everyone to enjoy it too."

This is down to you and the example you have given us, for encouraging me to take a carrier bag when I take walks with my dog. I follow your example to a small degree. Collecting discarded cans, bottles and bags. Not to mention picking up other owners' dogs poop which they leave behind.

I confess there was one day when your ears must have burnt. As I am collecting my dogs, you know what. I spot an abandoned 'one' so take a few steps to bag this up too. Tramping straight into yet another one, popular spot it appeared to be. Please accept my apology for grumbling about. 'Flipping Mister Joe making me stand in dog poop."

You never made anyone do anything, what you do is you make others aspire to be better people. To be more like Mister Joe, to hell with the youths who sneer, you don't give them a second glance. I hope someday I can shake your hand and thank you for what you do.

By Luke Ellis-Craven on Unsplash

In my walks ours paths have never crossed, yet I've seen you from the car so many times as you walk for miles and miles around the beautiful peak district. In your twilight years you collect what others have discarded, their litter, their waste. In doing so you teach us all such a valuable lesson in our throw away society. You teach us the value of connection, of community and of pride.

Litter picking tribes have formed in your honour, who follow in your footsteps at weekends, and on summer evenings. Imagine how much waste there would be if not for you and your band of merry followers. We live in a walkers paradise, sadly lockdown brought out the worst in people and they came to our doorstep which we welcome them to openly.

What they left behind we were not so open to, they did not know about Mister Joe and his merry men and women, boys and girls. How could they? They are not part of the community you have grown in out beautiful town.

People talk about you in local pubs, referring to you in their own terms of endearment, the litter guy, or whatever. To me you are Mister Joe, and I would love to cook you a nice home cooked dinner and welcome you into our lives. What stops me? The fear of rejection, yet you have shown no fear in your services to our community.

By Luca Bravo on Unsplash

We can only hope those youngsters who sneer know will grow to remember you and the sense of pride you instill in our neighbourhood. Will this rub off on them as it has on the little girl, on me? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever happens I know one thing, you only need one Mister Joe to change the world. Thank you Mister Joe.


SJ x

I hope you enjoyed reading my short story and will subscribe to read others. My debut series The Order is coming soon, with the first book FamiLIES coming out this year. If you like my stories please click on the heart. Thank you so much for taking the time to support me. SJ


About the author

SJ Covey

The Order, SJ's NA series is coming soon.

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