Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The country road I live on makes a complete circle, so when I take my daily walks, it’s nice to be able to start and my house and end at my house without passing the same scenery twice.

And my walks are always scenic – wildflowers, birch trees, a small frog-filled marsh, and hawks circling overhead. But about a year ago, something new was added to the scenery.


They appeared overnight. As I set off on my daily walk, I came to the first tire lying on the edge of the road. It was huge, like a race-car tire, just lying there in the sunlight. A few yards down the road was another tire, a much smaller one, like a motorcycle tire.

As my walk continued, so did the tires, along with a few raggedy old inner tubes. The final count was nine tires and two inner tubes.

“I can’t believe someone would come up here to toss out their crummy old tires!” I said to my husband when I came home from my walk. “Such a nice country road and they make it look like an old tire dump!”

I grabbed my car keys and headed toward the door.

“Where are you going?” my husband asked.

“I’m going to go pick up the tires and make our road pretty again!”

“And exactly what are you going to do with the tires once you pick them up?”

I hadn’t thought about that. I wasn’t even sure exactly where old tires went to die. I knew it wasn’t the town landfill, and I was pretty sure there had to be a fee associated with getting rid of them, no matter where it was.

“Well, I can’t just leave them lying there like that!” I said. “They make our road look like one of those go-cart racetracks lined with tires!”

Not knowing what to do with the tires, I decided to leave them where they were for the time being, even though they really bugged me. I didn’t even want to take my walk the next day because I knew I’d have to look at them, and I’d have an intense desire to track down the person who’d dumped them there…and deflate him.

Still, I ventured out on my daily walk and cringed in anticipation of getting closer to the first tire. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw lying there. More tires! The used-tire fairy apparently had paid another visit overnight.

That did it. I rushed home and called the local police station. “I’d gladly pick up the tires myself,” I told the officer who answered, “but then what do I do with them? I’m not about to pay a disposal fee for someone else’s junk! And isn’t littering a crime?”

“Gee,” the officer sounded puzzled, “we never have any problems up in that neighborhood. But I’ll head over there and check things out.”

I didn’t hear anything else from him, but the next day when I went for my walk, I was delighted to see no sign of the tires. No longer did the road resemble a NASCAR pit stop.

During my walk, I happened to meet a young couple who also were out walking. They started talking about the mysterious appearance and disappearance of the tires.

“Well, I called the police,” I told them. “That might have had something to do with their disappearance.”

They stared wide-eyed at me. “You really called the police?” the guy asked. His tone made me feel as if I’d done something really shocking.

I nodded. “And I’d still like to find the culprit who did it! I’m thinking maybe we should nail an infrared camera with a motion sensor to a tree or something, in case he comes back!”

I made a mental note to stop watching so many crime shows on TV.

Over the winter, no more tires appeared, so I figured that was the end of them. But a couple weeks ago, I took my dog for a daily stroll and suddenly stopped dead. There, along the sides of the road were small, large and extra-large tires!

I shouted, “Noooo! Not again!” so loudly, I made the dog jump.

I tried to ignore the tires and not let my blood pressure skyrocket, but every time I spotted another one, I wanted to track down the creep who’d done it, stuff him into the biggest tire and roll him down the hill.

Every time I took my walk after that, I glared at the tires. A few days ago, however, I noticed they were stacked in neat piles along the road instead of helter-skelter as they’d been previously.

During my walk, a guy on a motorcycle pulled up next to me. It was the young guy I’d told about calling the police last year.

“I just wanted you to know I stacked the tires closer to edge of the road,” he said. “I thought if they were more visible, maybe someone, like the trash collector, might pick them up.”

I wanted to tell him that first of all, he’d left his fingerprints all over potential police exhibits (here I go again with the TV crime shows), and secondly, even if he stacked up the tires and stapled dollar bills all over them, they’d probably still be lying there in the 23rd century.

But the next day, all of the tires mysteriously disappeared.

So where did they go? Did the trash collector pick them up? Did the police come by and take them away? Did the guy who’d dumped them get a guilty conscience and come back for them (oh sure, Sally)? And will more tires continue to appear in the future?

I’m definitely going to save up for that infrared camera with the motion sensor.

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