Over the years I have made a habit of picking up nails, screws, bolts, and other sharp metal bits from the streets and gutters as I walk during my lunch break. I like to think that if I pick up this one nail, I will save someone the trouble of a punctured car tire. I hope that, in turn, the driver is spared the cascade of negative emotions that might otherwise radiate out into his world. None the wiser for being saved this trouble, I hope that the driver will be more inclined toward kindness and gentleness. The pictured jar is full of the nails and screws I have picked up on my walks. I am filling a second jar.
As an assistant scoutmaster for a Boy Scout National Jamboree troop, both in 2013 and 2017, my Council contingent leader, Craig, gave me and the other scoutmasters a Jamboree medallion. He challenged us to carry it in out pocket every day to remind us of the Scout Slogan: Do a Good Turn Daily. Putting the coin in my pocket each morning starts the challenge. Feeling the coin in my pocket all day long is my constant reminder to be kind. Retiring it at night gives me the opportunity for reflection upon my deeds and the state of my heart. Even if it was just a smile, I have done my good turn. I resolutely believe that a simple smile, or a picked up nail, can improve our world. I hope you enjoy this poem. Pick up a nail today.
I PICKED UP A NAIL
I picked up a nail
from the street I walked upon,
and changed the world:
a tire will remain inflated;
a vehicle will stay true to its course;
a curse will remain unuttered;
a hand will find restraint;
a smile will grace one’s face;
a prayer, at day’s end, will still ascend;
a heart will incline to humble gratitude;
a child will feel the gentleness of a father’s forehead kiss;
a child will hear the soft tones of a mother’s good-night wish.
I always pick up nails
from the streets I walk upon.
Me at the 2013 Jamboree.