Forrest Gump had some notable lines in the movie of the same name. My personal favorite is, “My mama always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ “
Adam Ragan was born April 3, 1984. His parents, Ken and Beverly, were young and healthy. There was no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary with this new addition to the family.
Adam’s delivery went fine. Ken and Beverly were thrilled with their beautiful son, their first-born child. They had no idea of complications until just prior to dismissal from the hospital. The doctor said there was a possibility that Adam had what today is called Down’s Syndrome. In 1984 the terminology was quite harsh. Six weeks later a blood chromosome test confirmed his suspicions.
I first met Beverly in the early 1970’s at Valdosta State College. I’ve known Ken for around 35 years, from his days as a car dealer in Unadilla. But I just recently met Adam. He, Beverly, and I visited in their Perry home. We sat around an antique oak table in Adam’s room. He sat near his computer, something he enjoys spending time on. He’s also a fan of professional wrestling, though he and Beverly disagree on whether it’s real or fake. I stayed outside of the ring. I asked how to spell someone’s name for the notes I was taking. Adam clicked on a company website, then turned the screen for me to see.
Beverly and I got sidetracked discussing Dooly County families that we share connections with. In a very polite manner, Adam finally interrupted his mother. He held up a hand and said, “My interview.” We laughed, knowing that he was right, and that he had been very patient.
I stood to stretch my back and Adam offered me his chair. It had a padded seat that would swivel and tilt. Beverly and I were in straight-back wooden chairs. I thanked him, but stayed where I was. I was impressed by his good manners and his generous spirit. I wondered if I would be that considerate to a guest in my own home.
Adam enjoys interviews. If you Google his name, you’ll find that he’s a celebrity. His brother, David, who is 18 months younger, is a well-known NASCAR driver. Adam is part of David’s crew and is his biggest cheerleader, plus he spends time with other drivers and competing teams. Carl Edwards gave Adam his first-place trophy from the Nashville Superspeedway in 2007, a hand painted Gibson guitar. Richard Petty gave him a specially designed cowboy hat and sunglasses. It’s a small group that wears a hat from The King. Around the oval tracks of racing Adam Ragan has a big circle of friends.
Ken called on his way home from work at Atlanta Motor Speedway. We left to meet him at Chick-fil-A, where Adam works three days a week. Adam rode with me. He told me where to turn, and made sure I noticed the traffic lights and stop signs. During our short drive he gave me his own Racing Hero Card. It has his autograph, several pictures, and some biographical information.
Chick-fil-A franchise owner David Grossnickel says Adam is an excellent employee. Adam’s work is more about pride than pay. Adam did, however, recently tell him that he thought he needed a raise. David explained the criteria for salary increases, then asked Adam how much he thought he should get. Adam said, “A million dollars.” Math is not Adam’s strong suit, but he compensates with his charm.
Jeffrey Preston is a good friend of Adam’s and the Ragan family. He took him to a University of Georgia football game in November. They watched the Bulldogs defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks. Jeffrey snapped Adam’s picture surrounded by a group of gorgeous young ladies. Adam gives credit to the AXE cologne he was wearing. He wouldn’t, however, guarantee that it would work for me.
Beverly and Ken grew up attending Henderson Baptist Church. Adam walked that same aisle in 2016. He assured them that he understood what he was doing. Beverly often finds him in his room reading his Bible. He reads rather slowly, which strikes me as perhaps more appropriate than my own sometimes hasty approach. The autographed card he gave me is near my Bible, a gentle reminder that I really don’t have any good excuses.
Adam Ragan is a blessing to his family, friends, and fans. I see in him some common threads with a child born in Bethlehem a long time ago. The blessings He brought were not what were sought, but were by His grace so much better. I was only looking for a story, but what I found was an unexpected blessing. In this Season of Hope, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Neil neat story, hought you might like this.
Y’all know how I love a good story, especially when it’s a little spooky. Yesterday Teresa was inside wrapping presents I was outside doing some chore. While I was outside she heard a loud clanking bang in the house. I came in to help investigate, we couldn’t find the source. We just wrote it up to unexplained and forgot about it until this afternoon. While we were cleaning up for Christmas, Teresa was sweeping in the kitchen and she found the cause of the noise. It was on the floor near Granny Giles’ old sideboard. What was it you ask. Well, it was our old dog Shorty’s name tag from his collar. We didn’t remember we still had it. Where it fell from is a mystery. It fell from some height since it made a loud noise when it hit. Shorty died roughly 5 years and 1 month ago. There’s no good explanation for how or where the tag fell from.
I searched my old emails for the word Shorty to see if I could ascertain the date of his death. I closed in on late November 2012. They were emails from the Animal Clinic and one from ITunes from December 2012. Curiosity got the best of me and I opened the ITunes email. It was a receipt for several songs one of us had bought. The second song on the list was “Who Said Shorty Wasn’t Coming Back”. The third song was “I’ll Be Back”.
I don’t know, but Shorty did love Christmas, and I’ve never seen a dog that loved his bling more than that dog. He couldn’t wait for you to put his collar back on after a bath. He loved to jingle the tags. Maybe, just maybe he’s saying Merry Christmas to us. So join us in saying Merry Christmas to all the animals that have come and gone and shared our life. Shorty, Hannah, Chap, Buster, Fred, Miss Kitty, Rocko and that turtle that didn’t live long enough to get a name, Merry Christmas to you all.
Oh man. Tugging at my heart strings on Christmas Eve Eve. Great job!! m
Sent from my iPad
Jim and I have known Ken and Beverly for a long time and have gotten very close to the whole family especially drawn together because of racing. Jim works for Bilstein Motorsports and travels extensive trips through out the country with the racing communities. Born in Indianapolis Indiana racing is in his blood from the first day he was born,and later working with a team at the 500 and his love of the sprint cars and flying brought him eventually to Georgia because of his draft during the Vietnam crisis doing training in Augusta, Ga. All this to say that Jim has gotten very close because of racing to David and Ken and Adam. Jim is so proud of these boys because they are both truly grounded by their faith and so much love and kindness for each other that overflows to acquaintances they meet. Maybe life is a box of chocolates but what you are and the legacy you leave with others, speaks louder than any words that can be spoken. Adam radiates and excels with whatever venture he decides to do and the love he shows for all mankind is a true blessing and testimonial that he showers all people with. Adam gives us all a glimmer of what we can only imagine our heavenly home will be like., Marlene