[dropcap]H[/dropcap]appy Thanksgiving to my aunt Susie, who’s deceased, God rest her soul. She could play piano and make it talk.
After her, Uncle Eliot, the artist. Next, Uncle Hoyt, who lived in a 1964 Travco Dodge motorhome. He rolled his own cigarettes, defaulted forty years on his taxes, and could make me laugh until I pissed myself. And to his daughter, Melissa, who we called Missy. Each of them were too young to go.
To my departed grandparents. My stout grandfather, Paul. His wife, Ella; who my daddy said was even tougher.
To my other grandaddy, who once said, “If you can’t be Jack of all trades, at least be a Robert.” To Grandmama, who wore a halo long before she died.
I’d like to wish my pal Randy a happy day. I hope he’s playing bass with Buddy Holly. To Davey Jones, the man who taught me literature and music in his ratty apartment on Campbell Street: “If music be the food of love, play on.”
To my late father-in-law, Jim, the most generous man to grace the face of this vast earth. Who once said, “Son, you eat more than any joker I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying something. I’ve known some real fatty-patties.”
To my late father, nicknamed Jay-Jay by his older brother. He hated that God-forsaken name.
He taught me to drive a tractor, to plant Cumberland Spurs. He taught me to pee outside, to clean a rifle, to silage alfalfa, to throw a four-seam fastball. Who once told me, “If you ever start to think you’re really something, beware. Because you’re about to be humbled.” I’ve thought about that phrase every day since you said it, Daddy.
And I’ve found it to be true.