Bobo Brown Saves Thanksgiving

by Andy Wood on November 22, 2010

in Insight, Spoofs

If you know my oldest-by-five-minutes daughter at all, you will eventually have the ex-Thanksgiving Conversation (XTC for short).  Carrie’s growing frustration is that in the rush to jump from Halloween to Christmas, the world has turned on Thanksgiving 

If you decide to hang your holly before you’ve baked your turkey, it may be a good idea to keep it to yourself.  Otherwise, if “Baby A” finds out about it, you may get The Look.  Or worse, execution-by-XTC.

So when we caravanned from Texas to Alabama this weekend for Thanksgiving, to Carrie, it was all about giving thanks.  And when we attended the Baptist church in Millry Sunday morning, Carrie became a shouting Baptist when Brother Billy talked about Thanksgiving being the Forgotten Holiday.

“Amen!  It’s about time!” she shouted.

Yes, I mean shouted (though she may take issue with my choice of terms).

Still a bit edgy and armed for early-Christmas bear, this led to more conversation.  How can we teach people to value Thanksgiving?  How can we turn the tide of obscene Christmas shopping, at least until the cranberry sauce is back in the fridge?  What can we do to capture the true meaning of what may be America’s most important holiday?

Deep stuff, friends.  Insight needed beyond my little pea brain.  This calls for the wisdom of Solomon, the intelligence of Einstein, and the people skills of Bill Clinton. 

“You’re in luck,” I proclaimed to the fam.  “It’s time to go over the river and through the woods!”

“But we’re already at Grandmother’s house,” said Cassie.

“Different river, different woods!” I exclaimed triumphantly.  “It’s time you met Bobo Brown.” 

“Who?” Carrie asked, totally unimpressed.

“Only the greatest philosopher and thinker this side of Monticello,” I said.  “Bobo Brown is a great American.  And I know just where we can find him.”

Saturday was the start of Deer Season in Alabama, so I figured we’d find Bobo at his hunting and fishing camp on Biscuit Bluff, over on the banks of the Tombigbee River in Clarke County.  We were not disappointed.

We found Bobo and two of his three sons on the front porch, drinking coffee and cleaning their arsenal of weapons.  He was surprised and delighted to see us; I hadn’t seen him in nearly 30 years, and he’d never met the kids or grandkids.

“What’n the world brings y’all out in the middle of these here woods?” Bobo wanted to know, as he showed off his new Benelli Supernova 12-gauge.  “Bought it for myself for Thanksgiving,” he added.

“Well, that’s why we’re here, Bobo.  We want to find a way to restore Thanksgiving to its rightful place, and figured you’d have some ideas.”

“Have the turkey pardon the president for a change,” Bobo said without hesitation.  “I figure the roles are interchangeable.”

We all laughed.  “No, seriously,” I said.  “What can we do about Thanksgiving?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Bobo replied.  (Bobo was always thinking about something.)  “That’s why I bought myself a present.”

“What’s that got to do with Thanksgiving?” I asked.  This was weird, even for Bobo.

“I decided to put ‘thanks’ back into Thanksgiving this year.  So first of the month, I paid a tithe to myself and bought me a shotgun.  And boy am I grateful!” he said, grinning.

“A tithe!  Isn’t that supposed to be for your church?”

“Well, I do that, too,” the big-bellied prophet said, sagely. “But the Bible does say that when we tithe, we’re supposed to use the money to buy us whatever we want, eat it up in the presence of the Lord, and have a good ol’ time.”  

“So once a year I’m gonna ask the Lord and myself, ‘What would I like to tithe to myself?’  And go from there.”

All the while Carrie was rolling her eyes, I was beginning to think this actually made sense.

“So you’d recommend that everybody buys a present for themselves to celebrate Thanksgiving?”

“Yep.  And do it before you start all that dad-blamed commercialized Christmas shopping.  Why do you think we celebrate Thanksgiving in the fall?  It’s harvest time, good buddy.  And with this baby, I’m about to harvest me a buck.”

“Okay, well, that’s certainly something to think about, Bobo.  But how come our society has jumped from Halloween straight to Christmas and pretty much ignores Thanksgiving?  What’s missing?”

Bobo didn’t bat an eye.

“Kids,” he said.

“What do you mean kids?” I asked.  “Thanksgiving has stuff for kids.”

“Okay, preacher, let’s think about that.  The end of October, kids dress up as freaks and go knocking on doors to haul in more candy than they’ll see all year.  The end of December, kids get up in the morning and find a bunch of presents under a Christmas tree, left by a guy in a red suit with eight flying deer who are skeered of my new shotgun.  Now what do kids get at the end of November?”

“Um, a Macy’s Parade on TV?”

“Yeah, and some cut-out finger turkey or a picture of some pilgrims or something.”

“But it isn’t about the stuff, Bobo!”

“This is America!  It’s always about the stuff.  You want to rescue Thanksgiving?” Bobo asked, looking straight at Carrie.

“I want Thanksgiving to be important to us again,” Carrie said, measuring her words.

“Okay, little lady, here’s how to make it important.  Convince everybody that they have to send Thanksgiving cards to their friends, family, business customers, and such.  That’ll get the greeting card industry in on it.

“Adopt a widow or someone in the nursing home and send them a plant or flowers or a Thanksgiving bouquet.  That’ll get the floral industry in on it.

“Have open houses and decorate your house for Thanksgiving with symbols of harvest or blessing or something.  That’ll get the decorating industry in on it.

“Pay kids in candy and treats all through the month of November for every time they say ‘Thank you.’  That’ll get the food industry in on it even more than they already are.

“Invent a new magic character for the kids.  Just don’t use a turkey, since he gets eaten on Thanksgiving Day.  That could be a little disturbing.  But make up a mystery character like the Pilgrim Fairy or a lost Native American princess or something who gives money or toys or something to thankful little boys and girls who leave their lists of what they’re thankful for.  That’ll get the toy and entertainment industries in on it.”

“What’s all this about industries?” Carrie protested.

“Middle two letters of industry… U.S.” Bobo said.

“So you’re saying it’s all about money and things,” she fumed.

“All that and more,” Bobo said.  “It’s about people making money by marketing to children.  It’s about the need for something to anticipate, not just look back and remember.  It’s about feeling good about ourselves by treating ourselves, then treating others.”

“But what does any of that have to do with thanking God?” Carrie asked, exasperated.

“What do the things we do at Christmas have to do with Jesus?” Bobo retorted.  “But we still do them, all the while trying to remember what it’s really all about.  And sometimes we get it wrong.  Sometimes we get it right.”

“Remember,” Bobo added with a crooked grin, “you wanted to know how to make Thanksgiving important.  If you want to know how to encourage people to be thankful, that’s another question.”

“And what’s the answer to that question?” I interjected.

“Magic,” Bobo said softly.  “Not the magic that we don’t see, that isn’t real.  But the magic that comes in everyday life.  Show those grandkids of yours the magic that comes in the sound of a hoot owl’s call or the stories of how God has worked His magic in your life.  Remember what they remember, preacher man!  It’s not the three points of your sermon.  It’s the stories.”

By now Bobo was gathering up his vest, shells, and new shotgun, getting ready to head for his deer lease.

“Okay, seriously… Pilgrim Fairy?” I asked.

“I got some drawins’ at the house,” He said, coyly.  “Might jus’ work.

“I’ve been thinkin’ about it, anyway.”

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