I understand that watching television while eating dinner is not the thing modern families do. But it’s what we do.
The NASCAR race was just getting started and the race was being held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.
My dad once loved watching races and could do so from start to finish.
I, on the other hand, mostly enjoy the first few laps and the last few laps. It just seems to me that is when the most excitement takes place.
While I was watching Mom reminded me of how much she and Dad enjoyed going to watch races with Tommy and Ann Weaver.
When my dad got to the point he didn’t drive very well, Tommy and Ann were good to invite them places so my parents could get out without the worry of transportation. That’s what friends do.
Tommy and Dad grew up together in the North Canton Mill Village. It was a friendship that lasted for a lifetime. And the friendship is still there. I’m just not sure Dad knows it.
Tommy is a good man. He is a family man. I remember a time when I was a young teenager Canton Golf Club was holding a Father and Son Tournament.
My dad could not play for one reason or another and it looked as if I would not be able to participate. But Tommy being the man he is, asked the club if he could stand in for my dad so I could play.
He may not even remember this gesture he did for me. But I remember it. I have never forgotten it.
The races Tommy and Ann took my parents to were personal to them.
You see, they had a grandson who was a great race car driver and an up-and-coming star in the race arena.
His name was Matt Hawkins. He was the son of Tommy and Ann’s daughter Cindy and her husband Fred Hawkins.
Matt didn’t just race cars. He won races. His name was known by the famous people in the sport. He was going places.
And his family was proud, as they should have been.
But I would venture to say that no one was more proud of Matt than his grandparents. Because if Tommy Weaver cared enough long ago about my happiness and success on the golf course, I cannot even imagine how much he cared about his own flesh and blood.
In February 2009, a tragedy occurred that took the life of this promising young man with the boyish face.
Matt Hawkins passed away due to an accident that occurred at his home. He was 21. It’s my opinion that is far too young to pass on to the next life. But then again, it’s not my call.
Tommy and Ann were devastated, as were Fred and Cindy and the rest of the family. Their lives were changed forever on that day.
I don’t believe it is humanly possible to have this experience and remain the same. I hope I never know the answer.
But we all continue to live our lives as best we can and that includes Tommy and Ann.
Tommy spent many hours shuffling my dad from one place to another because he knew of his condition. He continued checking on Dad to make sure he was all right or making sure Dad didn’t need to go somewhere.
There were times he picked Dad up and took him away from the house to give Mom a break.
I’m not sure Dad always wanted to go or even knew where they were going, but he went because it was Tommy. Even in his condition, he knew Tommy Weaver was his friend and if Tommy said he needed to go, he went.
Tommy and Ann are still around town and still as committed to family as they ever have been. We don’t see them as much as we used to, but that is natural.
However, he still comes by the nursing home to visit when he has a chance. He comes even though Dad probably doesn’t recognize him as close as they were.
That must hurt him. It does us.
So Tommy and Ann, thank you for helping my parents in a time of need.
Thank you Tommy for standing beside me years ago. Matt was blessed to have you as family.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.