My across-the-street neighbors growing up were Pete and Juanita Smith. They were wonderful people and acted like an extra set of grandparents. If I was bored, Juanita would let me sit outside on her porch and we would play I Spy or some other game. If I was hungry, she had cookies. If I wanted to earn money, she let me mow their yard.
Juanita told me she grew up in Akins during the dust bowl era. Her family didn't have much money, but they had pride and took care of what they did have.
She said they didn't have any grass to mow in their front yard, but she would sweep the dirt to make sure it looked as good as it could. Being poor or busy doesn’t mean you can’t take pride in what you have.
Fast forward to last week.
The City of Sallisaw announced it will be taking a more aggressive stance on unkept property in the city. After the fall cleanup is over, they will be helping us take more pride in our community. The cleanup starts on Monday and the city will pick up different kinds of trash and yard waste if you put it at the curb.
The problem is that people seem to think it is OK to put their tree limbs curbside in July and just leave it there to wait on October. They lose pride in their property and it makes those who see it lose pride in our town.
So what can we do?
For starters, hold yourself accountable for your own property. The city allows free dumping at the landfill the first Saturday of each month. All you have to do is present a utility bill showing you live in Sallisaw.
Second, if you see trash on the sidewalk, pick it up. That sidewalk is owned as much by you as me or anyone else.
Third, be helpful. Journey Church had a program a few years ago where they would do yard work for disabled and elderly citizens who could not do it themselves. We need more of that, and not just from Journey Church.
If pride 80 years ago meant sweeping dirt in the worst of hard times, what can we do today to show our pride?