A Thanksgiving MysteryShrink Short
A Quiet Man Shows the Rest of Us What Thanksgiving Really Means
Sure, there was turkey and everything else that’s supposed to represent abundance and gratitude in the family. But it was John Bunch, a cousin of my late father-in-law, that who reminded us what it meant to be in a family at Thanksgiving.
As is the family tradition, three generations of men were lounged and posted on sofas and recliners in the Oklahoma living room while the women folk (ouch!) slaved in the kitchen. The open house design meant the slaves (we were having a great time, trust me) could hear the men telling outrageous stories about boyhood summers on Grandpa Frederick’s farm. According sons, grandsons, cousins, nephews, and great-nephews, Grandpa Frederick was a most unpleasant man. Each man, young and old, took a turn at topping the previous story telling of the nasty moods and unreasonable demands the old man on the farm. There were stories on how Grandpa let the place run down, didn’t have enough cows and too many chickens. He made you get up too early and worked on the Sabbath. Grandpa was consistently cheap. His coffee was the worst.
Each man took a turn in the spotlight. Then one of the grandsons noticed that his cousin, John Bunch, who’d spent many summers under the rule of Grandpa Frederick hadn’t said a thing. “What about you, John, you were there. Don’t you have something to add?”
John looked off, almost if he was picturing Grandpa Frederick with cherub wings peeking through the window. “What I remember most? . . . That man sure could whistle.”