It’s a scorching summer afternoon, and Ron Thomas is ready to race his blue and yellow Honda Civic around the track at Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland.
It’s something he’s been doing on his own for over a decade. But this year, his son and grandson are both there too, sharing his passion for fast engines and squealing tires.
The reason it took them so long to run together is straight out of the movies.
The three men share a love of mechanics. Junkyard owner Thomas, 66, says he always takes things apart and puts them back together. His son, Jason Gedge, 44, says he was the same. And Gedge’s son, Jason Jr., who is 21, says he grew up around the things his dad loved: auto parts and grease.
But it wasn’t until this year that Gedge, who was adopted at birth, learned that Thomas was his biological father, thanks to a DNA test.
Neil Thomas, Ron’s brother, submitted his DNA to an online registry this spring. Most of the names that came out were ones he recognized, but one didn’t make sense to him – Gedge.
“The last name was not common in the family, either on my mother’s side or on my father’s side,” Neil said.
After exchanging messages with a woman who had also submitted DNA to the registry, Neil realized the Gedge in his records was his nephew. Thomas had his infant son adopted in the late 1970s in Labrador City.
He called his brother Ron and told him he had found his son, Jason Gedge, living in Corner Brook. Thomas lives in Deer Lake, Newfoundland; her son lives about 50 kilometers up the road in Corner Brook.
The calls for the meeting have started. A day after Ron and his son spoke on the phone about the DNA match, they met face to face.
But it wasn’t the first time the men had met. Gedge says he actually bought some junkyard parts from his dad and attended the same wedding party before.
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“It was just there last week, it came back in my memories on Facebook, at a wedding I was at 13 years ago,” Gedge said. “Just a random photo I took. There is a photo of [Ron] …at the same wedding. And I never had a clue.”
Although he has lived his entire life away from his biological father, no one can deny Gedge’s resemblance to Thomas.
Gedge thinks the answer to the nature versus nurture issue is pretty clear, considering everything he’s learned about his biological father. His adoptive father, Joe Gedge, says he was wrong in this debate.
“At one point in my life, I would have argued that the environment has an influence on people,” Joe said. “But…I realized how much Jason looks like his biological parents. It’s amazing how much they look alike. They’re very smart. They look alike. Their hair is the same color. It’s amazing. “
As for the men, they are happy to be reunited. Gedge and his son are now working at Thomas’ junkyard and they are all getting to know each other better.
This is a link that is going to come in handy for Thomas on race days.
“I came for years without a pit crew, with nothing,” Thomas said. “Now we have a great race team. Now we have a full pit crew.”
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