“Growing Up on Dump Ground Road” is the title of a book that I have been planning to write for years. It is the story of my early life. I have come to realize that much of who I am today was forged in the fires of the people and places in my hometown. My plan is to test the interest in these stories by sharing a sampling in this column over the next few weeks. Your feedback is welcomed and deeply appreciated, either pro or con.
The red clay and gravel road that ran in front of my childhood home was officially named “Bushdale Road.” However, since the landfill for the city of Rockdale was located about a mile from our house, this lane was affectionately known as “Dump Ground Road.” It was easy to give directions to where we lived because everyone knew where you went to dispose of your trash.
As a young boy, the dump was my amusement park. It was like “Six Flags Over Garbage” or “Disneytrash” for a poor kid. Imagine the excitement to be found here: piles of discarded treasures; mounds of dirt for bike riding; and, the fireworks display from the combination of burning rubbish and aerosol cans. In the summertime, we would ride our bikes to the dump and spend hours in search of salvageable stuff. It was kind of like shopping at a yard sale, but no money was needed. We would come home with bicycle baskets full of good junk!
Among the many lessons that I learned from my frequent visits to the local landfill was the fact that folks often discard things too readily. Today, we live in a “throw away” society. This truth has been proven to be true, again and again, in my years of ministry. People easily toss aside marriages, friendships, and other relationships that they spent years building. They would rather cast them out than invest the time and energy that it takes to possibly repair them. My years on Dump Ground Road taught me to look for the hidden value to be found in what other people have given up on. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Serving in love,