By Chuck Foster
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a resident who lives near the common dock. She said there were “thirty teenagers on the common dock making loud noise and throwing rocks and each other into the water.” I assumed the caller was asking me to do something about it so I said I would check it out. While on my way to the dock, I remembered reading that the mental health of our nation’s teenagers is not good. A disturbingly high percentage are experiencing depression, hopelessness, and loneliness. I thought I should keep that in mind as I approached the animated crowd. I also recalled that, several years ago, I saw a large group of teenagers gathered in Triangle Park and there was quite a bit of trash left on the ground under and around the benches. I tried raising my voice to express my displeasure and some of the kids briefly protested, a few picked up the litter, and the rest scattered. I concluded my approach was not very effective.
This time, as I approached the kids, I asked them in a whispered tone to meet with me. Amazingly, they all gathered around to find out why this old man was whispering. I told them they were welcome to be on the dock but please don’t throw rocks or each other into the lake. I spoke respectfully and they listened respectfully. Within twenty minutes, they were gone.
Several days later, I got an interesting email from Kathy Babbitt, which I followed up with a phone call. She discovered four young ladies looking for something in her backyard bushes. She said, “What are you looking for?” One of them replied, “a long stick.” Kathy said they were very focused on their task. It turned out that they were trying to retrieve one of the rarest creatures to be found in the lake . . . a Safeway shopping cart. Kathy asked, “Who do you think put the cart in the lake?” The reply was simply, “teenagers.”
With the assistance of a rope and Kathy’s friend Larry Hamblett, the young rescue crew lifted the cart from its watery grave. They then described a plan to clean up the cart and return it to Safeway. We owe these young ladies a debt of gratitude for their dedicated service to the community. Many thanks to these little heroes, Mary Strickland, Mary Coogan, Bonnie Coogan, and Purva Bhosale!