Eric Douglas: Fix up your surroundings, too

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Let’s face it, most of us are spending more time at home than we have in a very long time. Even as restrictions are lifted on large group activities, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable attending them.

And the idea of taking a long drive to the beach right now, with stops in rest areas and gas stations with thousands of other people, doesn’t seem as inviting as it once did.

If you could just teleport to that beach house.

Judging by the number of people I’ve seen at the home improvement and hardware stores in the last month or so, I think the foundation of the economic recovery is going to be fixing up our back yards.

I’ve been doing it myself. I just finished one project that I started about five years ago. I also set up hammock stand so I can work (you believe that, right?) outside in the shade.

This is a time when a lot of people are turning inward and concentrating on home and their immediate surroundings. In a lot of ways, many of us feel that’s the only thing we can control in a world that seems to be more and more out of control.

A few weeks ago now, my neighbor organized our annual roadside clean up on Reunion Road. I was glad he did. We normally do it earlier in the spring, but, well, you know the answer to that one.

It was somewhat surprising, but it didn’t feel like there was as much trash beside the road this year. We probably filled a dozen bags, but I’m confident we’ve done more.

I’m guessing, at least for the last few months, people haven’t been out drinking and driving as much and throwing their empties out the window. We did find some cans and a few Bud Light case boxes, but the number was definitely down.

Hats off, too, to the one person who stopped his truck in the middle of the road to say thank you to everyone who volunteered their time.

If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you know I hate litter beside the road and in the river. So, my one point is to take some of that time you have working on projects around the house and devote it to cleaning up the places around your neighborhood, too.

It only took us an hour or so and it was rewarding to know that we did something for the community.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at