I do not know everybody, but my dad does

By Dwight Collins | May 05, 2016

Camden — I was standing in line at Scott's Place the other day at lunch and a memory came as strong as the smell of onions cooking on the flat top grill and I began to realize I have become my dad.

Saturday is traditionally errand day. When I was a kid my dad and I would get up and “putter” around gathering the trash to go to the dump and we would head to town. I didn't mind going because the next stop was usually Scott's to get a hot dog with ketchup and a raspberry Slush Puppy, so that's were it starts.

My dad was a local banker and after managing branches all over Knox County it would stand to reason he might know a person or two — try knowing them all. No matter where we went we would get 10 feet and someone would say hi and then ask who his sidekick was and dad always answered the same way, “the boss.”

Some Saturdays he had to work half-days and I used to go in with him every once in awhile and it was the same questions and he had the same answer. I swear I met half of the people I know now because of Saturdays with dad.

We had a routine, something I could count on, sometimes we would end up in South Thomaston checking out a 1936 Lincoln Zephyr or just ride around getting a guided tour of places that meant something to him when he was growing up. Now those places mean something to me.

I have written before that my mom fostered my inner athlete, however my dad fostered my inner gear head. A lot of what we did together had to do with cars, he always had something cool, that was shiny and loud and what kid doesn't like shiny and loud.

Saturdays soon became “working on the Impala day." Dad bought a 1964 Chevy Impala convertible that had some front-end damage and along with the help of my Uncle [dad's brother] we replaced the the fenders, hood, did some rust repair and painted it. My arm about fell off I spent so much time wet sanding before it got squirted with a couple coats of white. He got a lot of comments on the paint, it looked really nice, little did they know it got painted with regular old Rustoleum out in the driveway.

What I realized the other day waiting on my hot dogs is I do the same kind of things with my own kids. As they get older they find more to do and don't have so much time for dear old dad as their social calendar becomes full. I took the boys to Scott's on Saturday, why? Because my dad did. I seem to know a lot of people, why? Because my dad did? See a pattern?

For example, my youngest son and I were out and about not too long ago and after eight or nine people said hi and chatted, he looked at me and said, “Do you know everybody?” I had to chuckle because just prior to his question I referred to him as the “boss” when I introduced him. I told him of course not, but I do believe Grampa does.

It's funny what might trigger a memory and what that memory triggers is almost always an “ah ha” moment. I realized that in my most influential years both of my parents were able to provide me with memories of things I did with them, so that I can create them with my own kids.

I am who I am because of them and I may have been a bit of a momma's boy at times, but make no mistake about it — I am my father's son.

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