Monday, December 28, 2009

Thanksgiving: No Smoked Turkey but That’s Okay

AUSTIN, TX – As I write this column, Thanksgiving preparations are underway and will be “all ahead full” when you read this.

My wife, Maureen, and our daughter, Sarah, will arrive tomorrow (Tuesday) for Thanksgiving with our other daughter, Blythe, and our nuclear family. Before then, Jason, my son-in-law, and I will have completed the bulk of the shopping.

This time last year, we had hoped a family tradition of Thanksgiving in the Southwest corner would take root and last longer than two years. But son-in-law’s new job prohibits travel during the holiday season, so Austin Thanksgiving is now the tradition…this year.

The one tradition which will not carry from the Southwest corner is my smoking the turkey. This is ironic since I first learned of smoking turkeys Christmas 1971 in Paris, TX. My then father-in-law, Colonel Jimmy Lynch, nailed turkey smoking. I think that turkey was the best I have ever tasted.

Even without smoked turkey, this is certainly a time for thanks.
Our focus will be on grandson Sam, who half-way through his third year, has welded this family together.

I thank him every day for that.

Cross-Country Thanksgiving

My parents will celebrate in Lebanon with my cousins, Bill and Kathy Denny. My sister, Martha, and her family will celebrate in Signal Mountain. My brother and his family, including his new grandson, Leo, will eat turkey in Queechee, VT. Our nephew Bill Boase will take over the turkey smoking for Maureen’s family in the Southwest corner. We will pretty well cover three-fourths of the country with our thanks giving.

Last week, I began the thanking season by thanking those who contributed to our family’s pride in the Veteran’s Day parade. It seems each trip back I discover yet another reason to thank Lebanon and its denizens.

Before I left, I reconnected with John Thompson. John, now a surgeon in Gallatin, was the Battalion Commander in our senior year at Castle Heights. The two of us and his wife Jan had a long discussion. The last time we had seen each other was 1962 when we graduated. He had my utmost respect 47 years ago and that respect continues today.

Ironically the next night, my brother Joe connected with John’s brother Eric for the first time in 42 years. “Young whippersnappers,” I thought.

Dee Jay Reunion

Also before leaving, I relived my radio days. Coleman Walker interviewed me on his Friday “Coleman and Company” program. He, Clyde Harville, and I shared the bulk of the announcing duties at WCOR from 1965 until I left for Navy OCS in 1967.

Preceding me, Coleman’s guest was John Jewell, director of the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency. John was another announcer for the AM/FM station, now WANT FM and WCOR AM, during my time there. Unplanned, it was old radio home week.

The route there is different now. I missed a turn before I found Trousdale Ferry Pike. From outside, the station building looked the same, ignoring the additions which are more than double the 1967 size.

Inside, it was a brand new world. The old FM broadcasting booth is now a closet as is the production room of that era. The AM booth is now a coffee station. MJ, the morning announcer sits a booth which makes our consoles look like Fred Flintstone compared to Star Wars.

Radio Then & Now

I left with the thought that some things change and some things don’t.
There is no more record cueing there. In fact, there are no 33 RPM records or the 45s we used to spin. It’s all computers and compact discs. I guess the disc jockeys can still say they are spinning them.

Coleman remains smooth, affable, and has retained his inquiring mind. I must confess I liked his “Birthday Club” better than his current program. His current one is on target and well, current, but the “Birthday Club” was ultimate entertainment. Nashville disc jockeys listened in to get material for their shows, high flattery in radio land.

So when I come back for Christmas, there will be more folks to visit. The list keeps growing. I’m thankful for that as well.

I will have a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. I hope all of you in Lebanon have a wonderful holiday.

When this trip concludes early next week, I will have been on the road for 21 days. I will be thankful to get back to the Southwest corner.

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