Posts filed under ‘Ken Noguchi’

Noble Trashmen

My father found a passion early in life– cutting wood.  Being a practical minded boy (also demonstrated by the fact he requested a sledgehammer and chisel for his Christmas present), little Lowell had a fall back plan.  Here’s an excerpt from a family history written by my paternal grandfather, G.I. Sawyer:

By the time he was six [Lowell] … developed an extreme interest in sawing and cutting logs. … As soon as he was able to handle this cutting tool, he spent a great deal of time sawing and splitting logs which he collected in the nearby Rock Creek Park. For his 194[9?] Christmas present, he requested a sledge hammer and chisels, which he later found under the Christmas tree.

A year later, Lowell, who had a difficult time learning Latin as an altar boy, inquired of his parents if he had to study Latin to become a woodsman. When he was told that most trees are identified by Latin names in horticulture, he immediately asked, “Does one have to learn Latin to become a trashman?” Thus, Lowell showed his second aspiration in the event he failed to become a log cutter.

As a teenager, I found my father’s second aspiration as a “trashman” to be downright hilarious and I made no secret of my amusement.  Once, my father defended his dream and told me that the job title in his day meant something different. 

“It was more like a junk collector,” he said which served only to fuel my laughter more.

Despite my father’s best efforts, he failed to convince my young mind that trashman was a noble profession.  And now at 32 years of age, I can see just how admirable it is. 

In 1999, Ken Noguchi climbed Mount Everest and was surprised to find the elusive peak covered with liter.  Since then, he has been organizating clean-up expeditions on Everest.  In 2001, his group brought down 1.6 tons of waste including 84 empty oxygen bottles and 50 tents.  His latest expedition brought down 1,100 pounds of garbage.

Noguchi’s work makes me smile and it makes me realize.  Perhaps my father wasn’t such a silly little boy afterall. 🙂

May 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm 4 comments


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