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Grandfather strives to pass love of painting to son, grandson

NATCHEZ — Dwight Haynes began painting houses and buildings in 1972, and at the age of 65 he is not only still at it, he is also teaching his son and grandson the trade.

“I enjoy it,” Haynes said. “I look forward to it each day. That’s what keeps me going.”

Haynes said he considers himself lucky, because when he goes to work he finds peace, which is something he has strived to instill in his son, John Haynes, and his grandson, Armis Liddell. The crew was busy doing prep work on a building in the 600th block of Franklin Street on Wednesday.

“Now we are teaching each other,” Haynes said. “They are teaching me patience and as I get older I learn to check my work more than when I was their age.”

Haynes said when he was younger it was all about speed. Now Haynes said he is more focused on checking his work and the quality of his work.

At 19 Haynes said he first worked for a painting company and after five years he started his own business, Haynes Painting, which has been in operation now for a little more than 40 years.

“It’s like I tell some of the guys, ‘I wonder who painted this last?’” Haynes said. “Maybe I’ve known the guys I worked with some of the older cats years back. Maybe it could have been some of them.”

Working in Natchez, Haynes said he has painted several older buildings that he admires for the craftsmanship.

“I get to thinking, ‘What was it really like when we didn’t have the tools and materials that we do today?’” Haynes said. “Those guys took pride in their work. They had to.”

Haynes said he gets inner joy when he walks away from a job knowing a home or business is in better condition than when he first arrived.

One of the many projects that stand out to him, Haynes said, is an old house that was on Foster Mound Road. Haynes said he got lost looking for it and ended up turning around in the house’s driveway.

When Haynes got out, Haynes said he looked over the house and saw how the years had worn on it. The front porch and everything was falling down, he said. After they revived, it he said it was one of the most beautiful projects they had ever done.

“It was in real bad condition but once completed, it was one of the most beautiful projects,” Haynes said.

While Haynes said he has enjoyed his work over the past 40 years, soon it will be time to retire, but he plans on painting a few more years until his grandson is a bit more fine-tuned.

Then, Haynes said, it is time for him to hand over his brush.

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