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To the editor: Shallotte lost another of our town forefathers last month.
Those of you who have been here for a long time remember Dykes Tires as Shady Park Esso, which opened around 1940.
You remember Dykes checking your tires, looking under the hood, chit-chatting while he filled up your tank, never seeming to be in a hurry for you to leave.
My wife used to ask me where I had been all Saturday morning. When my answer was, “Getting gas at Dykes’,” she knew I was probably down there talking about politics, the economy, sitting on the bench with Neb, sampling some dessert from off the counter [brought in by Lois], or maybe I got caught up talking to Earl Milliken or Jay Worrell.
It wasn’t easy to just buy gas and leave. Back in those days we took time to stop and speak to one another. Dykes really cared about you and your family. He would always tell me how proud he was of me for doing well in Shallotte.
I used to buy most of my gas and all of my car service from Dykes. I would leave my car or truck at Dykes’ and when I returned the car would be serviced and gassed up, ready to go.
Back in those days you would get your car serviced or filled up with gas, and could tell Lois or Dykes to “set it down,” which meant to jot the service and gas bill down on a little pad. At the end of the month, Lois would total up all of my tickets, and I would go by the station and pay my bill for all of the gas and service Dykes had provided me that month.
Reminiscing about simple ways to do things in a small town, when people could trust one another with a month’s worth of gas and service makes me miss the old days and a simpler Shallotte in a simpler time.
Dykes Hewett personified those simpler bygone days. I have always missed him being at the station since he retired, but now we are just going to miss him. We are going to miss those red socks, those rose-colored glasses and that big old smile.
Not every one knows Dykes was a dedicated weightlifter, studying strength and health issues 50 years ago. I was surprised when he first told me about his love for classical music and his extensive collection of classical albums.
He and Lois loved to travel, and from the stories he told, it must have been their happiest times— on the road across some part of America in a big old Lincoln. And he loved his yard. He was an avid gardener and spent a good deal of his retirement years in the yard.
You see, you can’t tell a book by its cover. Who would guess the guy that used to lean over your radiator and check your fan belt was also a competitive weightlifter, a classical music aficionado and a lover of beautiful roses.