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I was in high school, either a junior or senior, I can’t remember which.

My dad and step-mom were out of town, leaving my older step-brothers and me to have the house to ourselves.

As was our custom, we partied. Lots of people, lots of alcohol, and even some pot.

While I was drunk one of those evenings, I stole a couple traffic signs – a stop sign and a yield sign.

I threw them in the trunk of the car the folks had left and basically forgot all about them.

A few days later I came home from some activity and saw the signs next to the front door of the house, and my heart sank.

There was no way my dad didn’t know I had those signs, although there was a chance he didn’t know how I got them.

I found out in a hurry that he did know.

I went downstairs to where my dad was working on a gun. He was a gunsmith in his free time.

I can’t remember all the conversation, but I remember that he told me some men stopped by his office that day and told him they thought I had stolen those signs.

Since Dad didn’t know anything about them, he denied I had them. But since then he had found them in the trunk.

I knew there was no way around it, so I told him that I had taken them, that I was drunk (telling him THAT wasn’t easy, either), and that I was sorry.

His response was that I would have to return the signs, of course, and that my name would go on federal report.

He grounded me for a week, which now that I think about it was an awful light punishment.

Well, I gotta tell you. Going on federal report didn’t bother me a whole lot. Being grounded didn’t bother me much, either.

What hurt was knowing that my dad was going to have to call these guys the next day and tell them I had the signs after all.

I had shamed my dad. That hurt. My dad didn’t deserve that from his oldest son.

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