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Compost Family

In many ways, my mom is ahead of her time. She was a vegetarian before it was hip and trendy. She also composted before the green movement was in full swing. Today, I have a great deal of respect for her . . .

However, when I was growing up, I was often annoyed by what I viewed as her eccentricities. Why didn’t we eat at McDonald’s like everyone else? Why didn’t we just throw the vegetable scraps and fruit peelings in the trash like “normal” people?

(Surely all adolescents think their parents are weird at some point.)

Mom, of course, endured because she believed she was instilling a better way in her children. So she even found a way to enlist my help. Somehow or another, she found an old hat that was something like the one Indiana Jones wore.

Indiana Jones hat

Once on my head, I became (drum roll, please) “Compost Man”! He swooped in, gathered the compost, and deposited it in the bin outside. Not exactly saving the world in one fell swoop, but helpful none the less.

When we moved to Dublin and inherited a huge, backyard garden, I began composting as well. And now, when Mom visits, she often takes out the organic material, digs a hole in the ground, and covers it. She claims composting is her favorite chore, perhaps because she remembers Compost Man.

The process of composting turns unwanted material into useful fertilizer by allowing it to break down naturally. I am so thankful that Mom was able to transform my negative attitudes into practices that blossomed later in life. Someday, I’ll teach my son to compost – perhaps I’ll give him a hat! And the values will be passed on, as the bond between parent and child is nourished in order to grow. Maybe such relationships will save the world.


About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.


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