I was one of those kids that you might think had a rough childhood. I was in foster care when I was 5 and I was adopted at 12. I can't lie and say there weren't tough times, but age and time have given me perspective, and I've come to realize that something bad always comes with something good.

I will say that someone was watching out for me, because I was fortunate to have some amazing foster parents. My foster dad, Russell Boggan, passed away in 1983 when I was 12 years old. My biological father, Robert Van Zant, passed away in the summer of '09.

I do remember some really great moments and funny stories. I'd like to share a few things that I miss about them.

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    Dad's Party

    I grew up on the Grande Ronde River near Anatone, Wash. My foster parents owned Boggan's Oasis, a service station/restaurant at the very bottom of Rattlesnake Grade, halfway between Asotin, Wash., and Enterprise Ore. So I was a kid who grew up in a place that served as home and family business. My foster mom, Pearl, would head into town to buy supplies, and this usually took a few hours.

    My favorite thing is that my foster dad, Russell, took this time to disobey all of Pearl's orders and chores for me. We had easy access to candy and pop from the restaurant, and Russell would wait until Pearl was out of sight and down the road, and then he'd say, "Time to have a party."

    I was about 8 and he'd get a bag of yellow M&Ms from the display case, and we'd sit and eat the bag of M&Ms. It was only one bag and seems trivial now, but it seemed like we were breaking Mom's rules and that excited me as a kid. It's one of my favorite memories and I miss that about him.

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    Dad's Shop

    My biological dad, Robert, was a transmission man who had served in the Navy, where he learned his trade. As a kid, I remember going to his shop and seeing him slumped ay his desk, drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette. He'd always have a car on the lift, all torn apart.

    I swear that every time I went to his transmission shop, it was the same car on the lift!  He'd also always be at his desk with his cup of coffee and smoking his cigs ... I know he did fix cars and such, but it's still makes me chuckle, because in my mind, he'll always be in that shop working away.

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    Dad's Christmas

    My favorite Christmas of all time was with my foster dad, Russell. I was about 7 or 8 and he had to take me Christmas shopping because Mom wanted him to buy me a few presents for the holiday. I remember going to Kmart over in Lewiston, Idaho, and walking the aisles, pointing to things I wanted for Christmas. My dad then told me to go check out some books and that he'd be right back. I peered around a rack of coats and saw him in the checkout line buying everything I had pointed out. I knew everything I was getting for Christmas, and I was one happy little kid. I recall the hardest part was seeing those bags up on the highest shelves in my bedroom at night staring back at me. I never did tell my dad how much I loved that Christmas. It was never about "stuff," though. It was the fact that he loved me that much.

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    Dad's Repair

    My biological dad, Robert ("Bob"), made up for a lot of lost years when I became an adult. I stopped by his shop every few weeks to see him, and I remember one time I was having an issue with a Chevy Corsica that I owned at the time. He told me to bring it to the shop and he'd take a look at it.

    I thought the car was having transmission problems and he rolled under the car to take a look. He ended up pulling a huge long pipe out from underneath the car and said I was good to go.

    "That looks like an important part of the car, Dad," I said, "maybe you shouldn't have pulled it off." He looked at me and said, "Don't worry about it --  car manufacturers put lots of parts in cars that you don't need."

    The car never had an issue again, but to this day I have no idea what vital part of the car was missing for the next owner.

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    Dad's Story

    Whenever my foster mom, Pearl, had to head out of town, Russell had to take care of me.

    I remember when she was gone, he would tell me stories about the Seven Sisters. I'm not sure what the Seven Sisters were exactly, but I thrilled as my dad weaved story after story of them chasing my faithful border collie, Joe, and me.

    The stories always involved Joe and me and I think my love of storytelling came from those wonderful stories of imagination.

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