Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On being Brian Sloat's boy


It's happened innumerable times over the last fifteen years, and each time I thank God for the opportunity to learn more about my father's legacy.

It happened again last night.

I was standing in Charlie's Chicken, trying to get my family out the door, and an older gentleman looked at me.

Anyone who has ever had something like that said to them can attest to the time warp effect it can have. My mind immediately flooded with memories, all of which I've shared with you on this blog, and I looked the man in the eye and subconsciously stood up a little taller, straightened up, like a soldier in the presence of an officer.

I laughed and said, "Yes sir I am. How did you know him?"

"I worked with him for eight years when he first started at Unarco," he replied.

"And what was your name?" I asked.

"Jeff."

"Well it's nice to meet you Jeff."

He looked the other way for a moment, the way everyone does. I've never figured out why people do that, but it never fails, I can tell the words are coming the second their head turns:

"He was a good man."

We went our separate ways, and I climbed in the car and told Alicia what had just happened.

With my eyes focused on the road to keep anyone from noticing any tears that might be forming, I said the same thing I always do, without fail, the only modification being the amount of years I have to add since he died.

"I hope people are still saying I was a good man fifteen years after I die."

I don't have to be known for great things, although it would be nice. But later in my children's lives I want someone to walk up to them and say, "You must be Travis Sloat's kid. He was a good man."

I know I look exactly like my dad, and I know my children won't look exactly like me. But I want people to know by how they act, how they carry themselves.

I'll be thrilled with that legacy. Just like I'm thrilled to be Brian Sloat's boy.