May 17, 2008
(blogmaster note: last year, Ruthie Moccia wrote a great piece about her encounter with Jordan, a young man who found an ancient tractor wheel on the Yankton 07 clean-up. This May (2008), Ruthie returned to Yankton with us and wrote this piece about her experience. Click here to read Ruthie's post from last year.)
text by Ruthie Moccia. photos by Ruthie Moccia & Melanie Cheney
The ‘08 Yankton cleanup was my first revisit to a cleanup site since joining River Relief two years ago. What made the long road trip most worthwhile this year was reuniting with Jordan who accomplished the amazing last year by persistently digging around an enormous iron tractor wheel until it was completely unearthed and could be claimed by the trash tally.
During registration I spotted Jordan and his two young brothers dressed in their heather blue '08 volunteer tee shirts. Instead of aimlessly exploring the water's edge, the boys were eagerly awaiting trash bags and gloves and it appeared Jordan had also invited several friends along to participate. Their excited faces made me proud to be the one to hand them the necessary items and send them off down the ramp.
Suddenly, unmistakable familiar shapes of landscape brought back the memories. The flat sandy beach at the river's edge where the water had risen overnight to cover our cookware, a triangle of driftwood logs where we sang hilarious songs and played music around the fire, a flat space between two cedars where I had pitched my borrowed tent, the tip-top grassy edge of a dune I had climbed to scavenge an abandoned bracelet made of wooden beads and twine. It was a wonderfully nostalgic moment.
Overall my warmest memory of Yankton, however, is Jordan. What is it about a friendly face in a far away place? I threw the bead bracelet away many months ago, but Jordan's excited smile will stay with me.