Collins Comments

by Kelly Collins

Father's day is almost here again and I thought to say something positive about this day. I know it is a made up holiday for card makers to sell cards; but still we have chosen to take this to our hearts and have a special day for dads.

 

I would like to say something about two men. My father and my step-father. Both of them were exceptional men. Each had a different way of things.

Charles Warner “Jiggs” Collins was born in Kenton. He was not perfect by any yardstick that I can find. Who among us is? He lived a full life and had many friends. I haven't met any of his enemies so I don't know if he had any. I do know that he told stories that could make you weak with laughter. I know he would walk the extra mile if you needed him to. He inspired confidence in himself and in you as well. When he was dying slowly I went to talk to him. I said to him, “Dad, every one is walking on eggshells around here; but I am not going to; you are dying, and we need to talk.”

His reply was “Well finally.”

I asked him if there was anything for which I needed to ask his forgivness and he thought a moment and said, “No.”

Then he started talking about the things he had done that he felt guilty about. Things in general mostly. I told him that I was proud to be his son and that as far as I could see he didn't need any forgivness from me. Then we just talked.

I hear people say all the time, “I wish I had cleared the air with my father before he died.” I don't have to say that. I am easy and at peace with his memories.

The other man that was, for a while, my father, was Walter Chilcote Hanners. I owe a lot to him. Every time I sharpen my knife or use an axe I have him to thank for it. Whenever I need something and decide to make it myself, I have him to thank.

I asked him once to help me make something.

He said, “Do you want my help, or do you want to stand around and watch me while I make it for you?”

 

I said I wanted his help.

He told me that if I was afraid to do it by myself perhaps I wasn't ready to do it. He added that to try something the first time and not be successful was not a failure; that giving up without even trying was a failure. I have never been afraid to try new things. Not all have been sucessful but I have never known a failure.

Long after he and my mother divorced, I wrote him a letter; it's content I can no longer remember. He sent me a letter back and died shortly after that. So I don't have regrets about having left things unsaid to him either.

I think that's what I want to get across to every one; especially those of you with fathers still living. You never know when someone is going to die; and perhaps leave things unsaid between you. That is a regret that can never go away. Not just with fathers but with wives, husbands, children, and friends as well.

I was fortunate that my father, Jiggs, died slowly and there was time to get to him and talk. With Walt it was just a fortunate thing; for he died suddenly.

So this father's day make a point to clear up things between you and your father if you have things lying between you.

I am a father and I know I wasn't perfect; but my children have all seen fit to forgive me my imperfections.

So to all the fathers out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly; have a good father's day. Remember, the path to your children is a two-way street.

 

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