Friday, March 27, 2009

The Eastpointer

Ronald the Redneck and aluminum cans

By Richard E. Noble
Ronald the Redneck looks at life differently from anyone that I ever met. Sometimes he is very difficult to understand, not just for me to understand, but anybody. He says and does things that always leave me wondering.
In any case, there we were sitting on his front porch drinking beer, stomping on the empty cans and tossing them over the railing of the porch and philosophizing, when two strangers wandered into his front yard.
My good friend Ronald the Redneck’s property fronted on to a dirt road. I must admit his front yard did look like a “free range” zone. These two strangers had been walking out along the dirt road and then wandered up off the right-of-way and into Ronald's yard. They were each carrying black garbage bags and with some sort of stick with a duphfenflop on the end, they were picking up aluminum cans and putting them into their black bags.
"What the heck are them dang fools doin'?" asked Ronald.
"Collecting aluminum cans, I would imagine."
"Really!" exclaimed Ronald.
We both watched as these folks wandered all over Ronald's front yard. Finally when they got to within about ten feet of his front porch, Ronald stood up, hiked up his jeans, propped himself up against a porch railing, puffed himself up like a bantam rooster and yelled: "Hey, what you folks think that you're doin'?"
The two good Samaritans looked to one another dubiously. Then the male wandered over towards Ronald in a humble and solicitous manner. "Pardon me?" he asked.
"I said, what do you folks think that you are a doin'?"
"Oh, we're just out getting some exercise and collecting aluminum cans."
"You collecting aluminum cans, you say?"
"That's right."
"And after you collect 'em, what you gonna do with 'em?"
"We're going to take them to the recycle exchange, and cash them in."
"Are you going to take my porch swing and rocking chairs?
You're not going to take my pickup truck too, are ya?"
"Pardon me?"
"Well, I'm just tryin' to figure out what you're up to. Here you are, in my front yard, stealing my aluminum cans; I was just wondering what else you folks had intentions of stealing?"
"Oh we're not stealing."
"You're not?"
"Well, when you come onto another man's property and start picking up things that belong to him that are worth money, that is what we folks around here call stealing. What do you call it wherever you folks come from?"
"Well, we feel that we are beautifying the neighborhood. We're doing our little part to try and clean up the roadside and make America beautiful. We're not stealing anything."
"You're making America beautiful? Well, you know, you makin' me mighty ugly. Not only are you wandering around my front yard, stealing my cans but now you are accusing me of making America ugly. Next you goin' to be calling me un-American or somethin'."
"No, Sir. We didn't know that you valued these cans. We're terribly sorry. If you want them, we will gladly leave them right here."
"Well why would you think that I wouldn't value them? If they are worth money and here you are out picking them up to sell them? You value them, don't ya?"
"Ah ... well ... we're sorry. Evelyn, dump your cans out over here." They both turned their bags inside out and dumped their cans onto the ground. "We're really sorry," the gentleman said as they started to wander away. "We really didn't think that you wanted these cans scattered all over your yard. We thought that we were doing you a favor."
"Like you're doin' now - dumpin' a hundred, smelly, old beer cans right in front of my front porch? Is that what you call beautifying?"
"Well we picked them all up for you?"
"Did I ask you to pick up my cans? I had 'em all nice and scattered out, so's hardly anyone would notice - just the way that I like them - and here you come along and pile 'em up in front of my door and make my place look like a garbage dump. I liked 'em better the way that I had them. Then, one day, when I feel like some exercise, just like you folks, I wander around the yard and I pick them up - keeps me healthy."
"You mean you want us to scatter these cans all over your yard again?"
"Well, you can say it like that, or you can say that I would like you to put things back the way you found 'em. Would that be askin' too much?"
"You want us to scatter these cans all over your yard once again?”
"Well, if you would do like that I'd consider that right nice of ya."
The couple picked up the cans and put them back into their sack, then wandered about Ronald's yard scattering them around as if they were feeding chickens or planting grass.
By the time they left Ronald's property they had some very strange looks on their faces.
Now, there is a moral to this story somewhere but I don't know what it is.

Richard E. Noble is a freelance writer who has lived in Franklin County for over thirty years. All of his 5 published books are now available on If you would like to stock his books in your store or business e-mail me at