Sixth grade. I walked home from school and met two kids I knew but did not hang out with. They were going to the lumber yard to climb on the stacks of wood, and invited me. I should have been suspicious when we crawled under the back fence. We climbed around until the two guys pulled out cigarettes and lit up. I wasn’t interested in that, so I went to another stack and kept climbing.
Of course, cigarettes in a dry lumber yard are a bad idea, and they were caught. We were all taken to the manager’s office and scolded. He asked our names. When I told him mine, he stopped. "Are you Gary Gratton’s boy?" I said yes, and knew I was doomed. He let the other guys go, then called my dad. "Gary, I just caught your boy smoking in my lumber yard. I know you didn’t raise him that way." About three seconds later, I heard tires squealing into the parking lot.
It was fairly easy to convince my dad that I hadn’t been smoking, but I’ve never forgotten that my dad’s name was known in our town, a thing of value. I decided I would never again do anything to tarnish my father’s name. Nor mine.