As we continue to do all we can to make the best of our current world-wide situation, it is sometimes almost impossible to find anything even remotely lighthearted to write about. On the other hand, I am constantly reminded how very lucky we are, geographically, to be able to isolate right here in Highlands County so much more than most of the rest of the world. We have each other to thank for this. Notice how very good we are at sailing serenely along while paddling like crazy just under this surface of all the frustrations we feel. I read it is the loss of control of so many things that aggravates us most. This too shall pass and, in the meantime, consider yourselves soundly hugged by all who notice.

I remember the good old days (last year) when I had a coat tree next to my front door. now I have a facial-mask tree with an assortment of each kind that has been deemed safe and then rejected by the scientific community. Searching for an excuse to sit here at the computer in my P.J.s almost all day every day till late afternoon, I say, “My hazmat suit is at the cleaners ...” Sometimes the choice is laugh or cry, folks. Despite my best efforts, I sometimes just go ahead and give in to my frustrations, suffering what my southern foster-mother used to call Hissy Fits. In the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Holly Go-Lightly used to call them the “mean reds, the low-down-blues.” I just call them melt-downs. These are the times when I just lose it – whatever “it” is for the day. Sometimes justifiable, other times so irrational that I even surprise me. Sometimes it’s the little, itty-bitty stuff that brings on the Hissy-Fits. You know where I’m coming from. Forgive yourself, give yourself a pass – and give everybody else out there a pass now and then too. We are all doing absolutely all we can stand to do.

Considering the main “Biggie” we are most aware of (fill in the blanks here if you want – I can’t stand to utter the word any more) we are all trying to be good little soldiers in this war we never expected to fight. As much as we can, we are trying not to lose whatever control we still have over whatever threatens to be “the last straw.” It can be a slippery slope and different for each of us. One of the “little things” is recycling. Along with actually laundering money standing in my shower washing $600 worth of small denomination bills, now I began washing cat food cans in my dishwasher along with the dishes before tossing them in the recycle can. There is a limit and I reached mine there. I made a ‘station’ near the big can where I remove the paper labels and drop the cat food cans in this soapy water until garbage day.

The kid in me had to make a game of recycling. I decided to include evaporated milk cans, Spam cans, all cans after peeling the labels off. Then I moved on to cardboard – from empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls to TV dinner boxes slit open to prove they were devoid of leftover food. Perish the thought! I found things everywhere that belonged in the recycling can. All by my lonesome I can almost completely fill the recycle can every week. Who woulda’ thunk it?

Recycling became very personal to me when I researched why I can’t get Fresca soda. Now there’s a tin shortage. They can’t get enough of it to process soft drinks! Not enough tin. Not enough coins to make change. Where does it end? I’ve got plenty of tin. So easy to add to the can even a child could do it. Maybe parents could make a game of it. Maybe Junior’s first word would be ‘cardboard” and maybe into adulthood he will feel a sense of pride for having made his world cleaner, less wasteful. A small thing, this won’t completely banish the stinking, sickening two-story high piles of trash at the dump but it could be a start.

Awareness comes almost too late for most adults but thinking how this could raise the awareness of children for a lifetime. This is one thing even children can control in their lives that would have long-lasting results. Think of it – you are going to shape them into the adults who are going to rule this world some day. Awesome responsibility for you, but imagine the rewards.

(Miss) Sam Heede is a resident of Spring Lake. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.