Publication: Freedom — OCR - Placentia News-Times; Date:March 31, 2017; Section: News; Page Number: 3
WHAT A DAY
Helping our city with its to-do list
I talk a lot about how much I love Placentia, but sometimes I get frustrated. I am one person, with a busy lifestyle. Even when I can carve out time to be helpful, what could I do to make Placentia better?
It’s not like the city has a “to-do” list for me to consult.
Usually, I donate to a cause, either with money or with goods. This year, two things collided in my world: the urge to clean, and an invitation to help during Love Placentia Day.
Love Placentia is part of the OC United organization’s “United for Cities,” a one-day event across multiple Orange County cities, where volunteers sign up to make a difference where they live. This year, it’s on Saturday, April 29.
Tasks range anywhere from working on parks, to decorating the library, to handing out water. The point of the day seems like a perfect match for citizens who want to help but need someone to point them in the right direction.
Citizens like me.
I was so excited to see the invitation to be part of the day, I signed up with the first person who asked for volunteers. Sheila Jordan is in charge of cleaning up Kraemer Park, and asked if anyone wanted to help.
I raised my hand immediately.
After the excitement had worn off, I thought about what I’d signed up to do. Cleaning up a park would be a lot of digging and planting and moving heavy objects. Sheila even sent an email asking us to bring our own gloves and gardening tools.
Here’s the thing—I love gardening, but it doesn’t love me. Mostly, it’s my skin’s fault. I am so pale, I sometimes wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to move to southern California. Every day, I slather myself with sunscreen, even in the winter. And every day, some stranger tells me, “You’d better put on sunscreen, you’re going to burn.”
Each time, I’m tempted to look at my arms and scream, “Oh, no! When did my skin turn so white?” But I don’t because I try to be nice to people.
Not only do I burn easily, my skin is sensitive to plants. A morning spent weeding the garden will result in large patches of red, itchy bumps on any flesh that touched anything green. I wear long sleeves when I can. When it gets too warm out, I go inside.
This is why my flower beds always look like the gardener has abandoned all hope.
Even if my skin wasn’t so vulnerable, I have a hard time keeping plants alive. I do best with ones I can neglect, like bougainvillea. If I have to feed and water them, I will kill them. I barely remember to feed my family, and they can at least tell me they’re hungry.
Flowers at the park should be okay if I just have to plant them. Or Sheila may want to trade me to another team.
I’m actually excited about going to the park and digging weeds. Kraemer Park is near a busy street, and could use a little sprucing up. And I’m eager to meet my fellow volunteers. They’re citizens like me, who want to make Placentia a better place, and need someone to point them in the right direction.
I’d love to see you out there.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].