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The Man Filled With Many Accomplishments


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     Many people around Walton know my grandpa, Denny Collins, as “Denny” or the man who drives the small and old red truck. He has told me many stories throughout my lifetime that many people including some of my family members might have forgotten or might not know.

     My grandpa was and still is a very active man. He attended Tipton Township during his high school years who then graduated in 1960. During his glorious high school years, he enjoyed playing basketball for Tipton Township, running around with his friends, and spending any spare time with a basketball in his hand.

     During his sophomore year his high school team from Tipton Township played the undefeated Royal Center basketball team. He told me he didn’t get many varsity minutes as a sophomore, but he dressed each game. During the intense battle between Tipton Township and Royal Center, Buster Carey, Tipton Township’s best all-around player, fouled out with less than twenty seconds to go in the game and he was told to sub in for Buster. When he was subbed in, he said, “When coach called my name, I couldn’t believe it, but I went in there with confidence.” He added, “I had the ball with about ten seconds to go and we were down by one point. I looked around for an open teammate, but no one was open. The clock kept ticking and I knew it was about to run out. I then threw the ball up to the rim and hoped for the best. After it left my hands, I felt that it had a chance to go in. The next thing I know the buzzer went off and the ball banked off of the glass into the rim to beat the undefeated Royal Center team. It was one of the best feelings of my life.”

     When I asked him why he enjoyed basketball so much he said, “It was just something I enjoyed to do.” He added, “My buddies and I used to go in the hay mow of an old barn in Walton and play basketball for hours upon hours. We loved to play the game.”

     My grandpa also participated in track during his high school years. He told me he ran in the 100 yard dash and always came right behind one of his teammates, Buster Carey, and never came in first. I then asked him if Buster ever missed any events and he said, “Buster wasn’t there for one meet, and I ended up winning that race.”

     As a teenager grandpa and his buddies from all around the Walton area met up at the Walton ballpark to play pickup softball (baseball wasn’t introduced yet) at noon everyday. I asked him how everyone got there and he said, “Donnie Mullens, one of my best friends and I rode our ponies from our homes to the ballpark each day and most of everyone else rode their bikes.” He added, “We absolutely loved to ride horses.”

     After I found out my grandpa loved to be around and ride horses, I asked him if he showed them in any competitions. He said, “I had a beautiful palomino horse named Rio Parson Bars and I took her to a competition for yearlings, which was judged based on the looks of the horse.” He added, “She ended up winning the halter class of Indiana.” He then told me he had fifty or sixty trophies from all the years of competing in gaming events for showing different horses. His house burnt down, burning all of his trophies. He added, “I happened to leave one of my trophies in my truck that night; therefore, it didn’t end up destroying it.”   

     My grandpa also competed in table tennis tournaments for the county championship. Before asking him, I never knew how much he had accomplished as a table tennis player. He told me that he won both singles and doubles tournaments with Buster Carey as his partner for doubles. He also said, “It was a great feeling to be the champion for both the singles and doubles in the entire county.”

     When grandpa wasn’t playing basketball, he spent his time running coon dogs in a woods behind his house, which are both still standing today. He took off just before dusk to get to the woods before dark. He also ran his beagle dogs in the same woods in the early morning hours and would hunt until dusk each night. I asked him if his dogs ever jumped a rabbit. He said, “Almost every time they would jump one.” He added, “That woods seemed to always be filled with rabbits.”

     He also told me his mother would take himself and his buddies to Denver, Indiana, and drop them off to float the river back to Pipe Creek near his house. During their floating trips they would take BB guns and sometimes shotguns with them to kill squirrels or any type of animal they could cook and eat. When it started to get dark, they would pull their canoe onto the bank and cook them something to eat.

     As many people know, my family and I have had animals our entire lives including longhorn cattle, horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, and many smaller types of animals. My grandpa has always had a passion for animals his entire life. He has gone to animal swaps and different sales for fifty plus years. Currently, he attends the Straw town sale barn about twenty miles north of Noblesville in Indiana. Each Thursday he travels one and a half hours south to go watch a variety of animals sell from cows to pigs to chickens and many more.

     Also my grandpa attends a Wednesday morning breakfast club at the Dutch Cafe across from Grissom Air Force Base. I asked him what he enjoyed about it and he said, “I enjoy meeting up with all of my friends from high school.” He added, “We talk about a variety of different topics including sports, politics, and grandchildren.”

     My grandpa also served our country in the army from 1965 to 1971. He told me he was first stationed in Fort Knox, Kentucky for the first couple of years until he was transferred to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which he said was “down the road from Fort Knox.”

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2 Responses to “The Man Filled With Many Accomplishments”

  1. kkitchel23 on March 7th, 2018 3:05 pm

    Great article Dixon! Anybody that hasn’t gotten the chance to meet Denny is really missing out! I really enjoyed how detailed the article was. I felt as if were there with him! Nice job!

  2. jpric71 on April 25th, 2018 11:11 pm

    It is really neat to be able to learn so much about your grandfather, but I find what is most interesting is that you were able to have such a long conversation with him. That shows great character. Great Article!

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
The Man Filled With Many Accomplishments