My oldest daughter resides in probably the most fun part of Houston, near Rice Village. It’s one of the reasons why I make it a point to drive all that way from the deepest, darkest, outer limits of the suburbs for a “Katie date” as often as possible. That general part of town has blocks of interesting and exotic restaurants. And the shopping is, well, there are just no words to describe the shopping, but drooling does come to mind. Last week, I ventured way down south to pick Katie up at her apartment for another one of our adventures. One of our stops was to include shopping for the makings of the Frantz family Easter baskets. Several years ago, Katie introduced me to the side-by-side shops Candylicious and The Chocolate Bar located on West Alabama. It’s been one of our traditional shopping dates ever since. As the parking is a challenge at her apartment complex, I usually call ahead on my cell before turning onto Buffalo Speedway. That way she can conveniently hop, skip and jump into the family truckster. But this time Katie wasn’t quite ready. I remember thinking at the time … that was odd. She is always ready. "Mom, why don’t you come up for a moment while I finish with my hair?” Katie asked. Hmm, I smelled a conspiracy. The girl is seldom fussy with her hair. But a parking spot mysteriously appeared, so I bounded up the apartment stairs two at a time. After several minutes with the curling iron, I thought we were ready to depart and took a couple steps toward the door. "Hey mom, I have some glass to take over to the recycling center. It’s not far from here. We can do that on the way,” said Katie cheerfully, as she entered the kitchen to rinse out some nearly empty pickle jars and salad dressing bottles from the fridge. Katie is huge on recycling. Has been since she was a little girl. I blame her enthusiasm on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Rocko’s Modern Life.” There is a catchy little recycling song in one of the cartoon’s episodes that includes several very corny verses. To this day, Katie, and even her little brother, can drop on one knee, and sing the entire little ditty. For dramatic effect, they always belt it out very loudly, and with outstretched arms. Let’s just say, it would make for a very interesting “American Idol” audition. I’ll admit it, recycling has never really been a huge thing with me. Heck, I consider myself to have won the lottery if I manage to get the stack of old newspapers down the street to the local elementary school recycle bin. My idea of recycling has always been frequent visits to Goodwill with old clothing and household items. I just added the public library to my list for their used book fundraiser. When Katie worked at the Houston Zoo in the Education Department, she was also a member of their Green Practices Committee. Every two weeks, several committee members would take a huge box truck and unload the recyclables, such as lots of cardboard and empty, but stinky, metal dog food cans. I soon learned that Katie and I were on our way with her little bag of glass bottles to the West University Recycling Center, the same place frequented while working at the zoo. I was sure my daughter had planned this teachable moment for my benefit, but just smiled. I had to admit when I pulled in behind a line of cars at the recycle center that it was a happening place. There were whole families unloading bags of newspapers, glass and cardboard. The long driveway paralleled a long, tall cinder block wall probably five feet tall. Above the wall was a tall screen with periodic open holes down the length for tossing into construction dumpsters recyclables specified by signs. For instance, there was one station for plain glass, and one for colored glass. It took all of a minute to toss Katie’s plain glass into the dumpsters. I moved down the line to the next station. Standing on my tippy toes to peer into the dumpster, the “colored glass” dumpster was full of broken wine bottles. We soon left the recycling center and sped toward West Alabama. Geez, I just might have to step out of my comfort zone and re-think this whole recycling thing. Think I’ll start with the large stack of newspapers accumulating in the corner at the house. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past decade. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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