I love when I read something that triggers a long-forgotten memory. Take this story from my youth: Young Gregor is about 12 or 13 at the time, I believe. Anyways, my Dad's lumberyard lets people pay for stuff on traditional credit. Basically, you come in there, gather up all the stuff you need, and then a bill is sent at the end of the month. This is done mainly because some of the contractors that come in are working on multiple houses and jobs at a time, and they like to have separate bills for each of their jobs so they can be charged back to the homeowner correctly. Most of the people are very good about paying their bills, because they are down at the lumberyard all the time getting stuff, and my Dad knows them pretty well.
However, once in a while someone won't pay up, and my Dad has to go around and collect the money. The one time I remember going along for this was when we had to drive out into the country, and pulled off the highway on a gravel road that led to a beat up trailer house. There was broken down parts of cars and machines scattered on their lawn, which was about a foot high. Out in the middle of nowhere like this, I was a bit scared. My Dad goes "stay here," and he got out of the van and walked up to the front door of the trailer. The door opens, and a huge bearded man is standing there, looking like this guy from Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Minus the bone, of course. Now, my Dad is not a big man. He's probably 5' 9", probably about 190, balding, with glasses. He's got big arms and forearms, but this guy is standing over him about 6 inches. I grip the dash of the van, worried that my dad is going to say something wrong and this guy is going to pop him in the mouth. The windows are rolled up on the van, so I can't hear what they're saying, but my dad looks calm, and the other guy's beard is covering up his emotions. The other guy turns around and walks into the trailer, and my Dad...follows?? Immediately my mind starts racing. Oh my God, my Dad is going to strangle the money out of this guy. I grab a hammer between the seats, and crack open the door, being prepared to lend my assistance if I start to see the trailer windows being blown out with their fisticuffs. But then the door opens again, and out walks my Dad...holding a rifle!??! Did he just kill that guy?? What the hell is going on? The other guy is at the door, arms crossed and my dad turns back and gives him a head nod, and then gets into the van. My mouth is agape, but I manage to get out "What the heck happened in there?" He responds, "I told Jon that either I needed the money, or some collateral to hold onto until he pays the bill. This will have to do." I'm pretty sure I was in awe of my dad for weeks after that. And last week when I put my hunting rifle away I noticed that same old lever action rifle sitting in the gun rack, the one my dad had taken from Jon. Apparently he has never paid that bill.