Can you believe it, Thanksgiving is falling on a Thursday again this year, which means I must do another Thanksgiving Day column.
Now, I am big on Thanksgiving, not only as a holiday that keeps falling on my column day, but as a regular activity. (I’ll admit, I do sometimes lapse into Whinegiving. Shame on moi.)
However, I wasn’t planning to wax philosophical too much about the day, as others have done that with far more eloquence than I, your humble cat juggler with a dwindling fan base.
My only comment related to Thanksgiving was going to be, please don’t call it “turkey day,” and don’t ask me on Friday “did you have a good turkey day?” If that’s all the holiday means, let’s not bother.
But let me recount a conversation I just had with a Jayme … Madsen (yeah, that’s what I’ll call her, as she didn’t say I could use her name). Jayme … Madsen is a 30-something-year-old courthouse employee.
BTW, all of the people in today’s column are really named Johnson, but today I am going to give them pseudonyms.
I don’t remember how we got on this particular topic, but it is certainly Thanksgiving-appropriate. Jayme explained a class project her fifth-grade daughter is involved in at Early Elementary School. The kids are selling ornaments for a dollar each, and after they have collected their money, they will take a class field trip to a local store where they will buy presents to donate to needy children.
“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s really neat,” Jayme said.
“My other daughter …” Jayme continued. I interrupted her. Is this, like, your other daughter Darryl? No, Jayme explained. Her other daughter, a freshman at Early Hah Skool, will be serving in “the soup kitchen” as a class project with her speech class. I asked Jayme if, by “soup kitchen” she meant the Salvation Army, and she thinks so. “She came home excited about that,” Jayme explained.
Thinking that perhaps I could make my Thanksgiving Day column about Thanksgiving after all, I asked Jayme what the day means to her. “It’s my favorite holiday of the year,” Jayme explained.
Why? (I have been trained to ask the tough questions.) “Because you get to just spend time with family.” What are you thankful for? “I’m thankful for my husband and my children and my family. I’m thankful for lots of things – my job, my life in general.”
Changing the topic, I explained to Jayme that I have been invited to play a duet with my youngest son, Patrick, age 10, who is taking violin/fiddle lessons. Each year around Christmastime, I explained, Patrick’s teacher, Katie, takes her students to area nursing homes and they play some Christmas music. She gave a couple of solos to Patrick and then asked me if I wanted to play with him.
“Would I! Would I!” I told Katie.
“Do you play?” Jayme asked.
“Well, um … I can hold a guitar and pretend to play it, but I’m not very good,” I explained. (Wife tells me I need to learn more than three chords and might want to consider taking lessons.)
One of the songs me and the boy are going to play, Angels We Have Heard on High, has a b-minor chord but I am ignoring it because it’s too hard. I hope no one says “Mabel, did you see that? He skipped the b-minor.”
Followed by, “Well, he’s not very good, Jubal.”
I may be skipping the b-minor, but I’m getting those wicked G-D-G chord changes down johnson, don’t you know.
As Jayme and I talked further about Thanksgiving and music, a couple of other people entered the room, trying to talk about something that pertained to them. I made them talk about what I wanted to talk about. (One of the individuals said something about me having a monologue no one was listening to – a very hateful, hurtful statement.)
I told them I didn’t want to hear Thanksgiving referred to as turkey day. “I hear you,” one of the individuals, a J. Williams, said. He went on to explain why some people refer to Thanksgiving as turkey day. “They do that because that’s their attempt to be cool,” he explained, adding that they are “trying to be cool with the lingo.”
And hey, speaking of “lingo,” I’ve got to start learning the lingo of the music biz now that I’m a performing musician. Let’s see … make the scene. Groovy. Gear. Axe. Licks (also refers to something I used to get in my skool days). Gig. Get out and don’t come back.
I went on to explain to J. Williams that I’ve been invited to play a duet with my son Patrick, but I’m not very good. “You can Jimi-Hendrix a Christmas carol,” J. Williams offered.
“How do I do that?”
“Hit every string a couple of times in no particular order, and claim it’s an original interpretation of a classic Christmas piece … or say, you just happened to have rearranged the notes by your own artistic interpretation,” J. Williams explained.
I went on to explain that my oldest son, James, who really is learning to play the guitar, is on the cusp of getting an electric guitar (a Squier Strat) and an amp, albeit a smallish amp. Small it may be, but I know it will blast us out of our house if it’s turned up.
“Sounds like the making of a city ordinance,” J. Williams explained.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at steve.nash@