One of my mother’s favorite expressions was “trifling.” It undoubtedly came from her proper Virginia upbringing. She used it to describe people who did not care about how their actions affected other people or the community as a whole. We have that problem on Hall Ridge Road in Boyd County, Kentucky.



Someone dumped a large porch glider and chair into that beautiful little pond on the Summit side on Hall Ridge Road. Why? No reason, I suspect. My mother would have said, “they are trifling.” Someone (the same person?) dumped a pile of construction material there, too. Trifling? Are these the same people who toss trash out of their vehicles? My mother would have said they are trifling, too.

A former student of mine at Ashland Community College who heads the Boyd County Litter Abatement Office, came by, took a picture, and promised to have the Boyd County Road Department deal with the mess. Many thanks to him and those who assist him.

Of course, if we had no trifling people, we wouldn’t need these services. The truth is, we have many trifling people in this wonderful country, and we are as a nation, trashy. 



My daughter and I spent several days in Montreal, a large, busy, modern city with about two thirds the population of Kentucky. During our stay, we did not see one cigarette butt, pop can, or paper cup along the roadside or in the small city parks. Contrast that with where we live. We should be ashamed, but we aren’t because many of us are so used to the trash that we don’t notice it. 



And how about the people who think it is perfectly proper to empty their ash trays onto our shopping center parking lots? Trifling? And what about the well-dressed middle-aged woman who tossed her paper cup full of ice on the garden at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland? The grown man who heaved his leftover lunch and bag from his pickup truck on U.S. 60? The lovely blond girl in the red sports car who would rather have a trashy road than a trashy car? The people who deposit their litter every night on the Bob Evans Restaurant lawn?

The kids who after every Friday night game discharge their cans and wrappers on our streets? The local policeman who flipped his candy wrappers from his patrol car on Winchester Avenue–trifling? My mother would have said so, and I would agree.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Folks, I am guilty! Even though my mother brought me up to be clean and respectful, I occasionally will lapse into poor behavior.  My mom would have said “Trifling!” It was one of her special words, too. I think we can all learn an important lesson from Ernie’s piece, no matter where we live. When I belonged to the Rotary Club years ago, we adopted a section of highway and periodically walked it with trash bags and tongs. We picked up an amazing amount of trash. Yes, I’m afraid we are a “trashy” people.  Thanks to Ernie for calling this our attention.  Will it make a difference? I certainly hope so. I certainly want to be mindful of it the next time I’m tempted to throw a gum wrapper (after all, it’s so small!) from the window of my car. How about you? Let’s try not to be “TRIFLING.”]