Viral Twitter story illustrates the one time it might actually be admirable to litter

For anyone who has even a modicum of respect for the earth and the environment, the idea of dumping trash on the side of a highway is unconscionable. Who does such a thing? There’s no excuse for littering like that, right?

That’s what I would have thought before reading this Twitter thread by Glen Cantrell, but now…I don’t know. While it pains me to think of polluting an area with trash, this might be the one exception where I’d be like, “Oh heck yeah. I can totally see why someone would do that.”

Cantrell starts by explaining that his mother was not an activist, then goes on to describe a deliberately illegal act of defiance and subterfuge she invited him to join without his knowledge.

“My mother didn’t have an activist bone in her body,” Cantrel wrote. “Not one. But once, when I was visiting from school, she woke me up and told me to help her load up the truck with barn trash.”

She didn’t tell him where they were going.


“My family is from the Ozarks, mom lived in a little farm town outside Springfield. We hit 65 and drove south from there. Through Branson, past Table Rock, not slowing down until we hit the Arkansas border,” he wrote.

“Mom pulls off right past the state line, in front of one of those Adopt-a-Highway signs,” he continued. “‘Look,’ she points toward the sign. Her face is set. I’m a little scared. It’s THAT face. All moms have it. You know the one. I read the sign. ‘The next mile has been adopted by…'”

“‘… The Grand Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (there was also some dumb ass sounding chapter name).’ I get it now. Remember, the ‘not an activist bone in her body’ bit from the first tweet in this thread? There’s a ‘but.’ And, it was the KKK.”

Ah. There it is.

Cantrell explained that his mother’s feelings about the KKK went beyond hatred. “It was more than that,” he wrote, “scarier, even.”

They emptied an entire truck load of garbage under the KKK’s adopt-a-highway sign, then his mother ripped every bag open and kicked the trash around to mix it “with all the others who’d done the same.”

Cantrell and his mom drove home in silence, feeling “lighter somehow.” They never really talked about it again.

“Mom wasn’t political or outspoken,” Cantrell wrote. “But, that day, she inspired me.”

Cantrell shared that the 8th anniversary of his mom’s death was coming up, which may have prompted this memory (along with the response to Texas’s recent legislation). What a fitting tribute it is to share her secret little slice of “good trouble” with the world.

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