Seeing Thanksgiving with John Crews

The house is exquisite in period detail and furnishings, many rooms heated by the original fireplaces of 300 years ago.

Bill Crews:  “Back in the Civil War this was used as a temporary hospital during the Sailors Creek Battle which took place very near here.”

“Where was that.”

“Over that way.”

Which was pretty much in the direction I was standing when came,

my understanding.

“…I stood alone not knowing where to turn…”

Understanding, I believe, has been coming slowly to me since the brain surgery.  Barb says I’m different, calmer, more calming to others, even more mellow than normal,

more caring.

For most of my 30 year career in the news biz, I covered ugly.

Covered mean.

Covered nasty.

You do that from inside a shell you build around yourself.  They are them and I am me and I won’t do what they do or let the bad get on me.  The wall around me went from the bottom of my feet to miles behind the moon.

Behind the microphone was my safe place, the sword that separated me.

Understanding started coming to me on I-95 South.  To get to the Crews home Barb and I had to drive through one of the most populated places in America…through NYC, over the George Washington Bridge ($15 toll), down the New Jersey Turnpike, through Baltimore, through Washington, DC and northern Virginia.

Normally by the Vince Lombardi rest stop on the Jersey ‘pike, I’m in a foul mood…and Vince is the 1st rest stop we hit.

Not this drive.

There was a calm developing; I later told Barb it was the best 12 hour drive of my life.

We sat and talked, talked of the kids, the dog, the families.  Talk of believe, or wonder, health, life, death, the comfort of Tundra seats.

Later, in the library of the Crews home, I told Bill and John of how calming the normal whacko trip down to see them was, never mentioned my breakdown in their backyard.

John sat in a chair to my left front, Bill in a chair to my right front, me I was sitting on a blue couch, coffee table in front of me, fire roaring in the fireplace to my left, a bust of JFK in the mantle behind me, decanter of fine bourbon in front of me caught the licks of light from the fireplace in the cut glass.

Both John and Bill sit on the Board of Directors of Tackle The Storm, Bill in fact was a founding father of the foundation along with Elite Angler, Skeet Reese.

Without the help of Bill Crews, Tackle The Storm would still be just a dream of mine.

I tell you all that for full disclosure, and so that you also are aware of the fact I know both of these guys very well.

Family, well.

So here I sit, a few hours removed from my understanding, Barb, Bill’s longtime girlfriend, Judy, John’s wife, Sonja, his sister, Allison and her significant other, Greg, along with all the children, Myah, Ivy, step-son, Noah and young cousin, Gregory, were laughing and talking in the kitchen and dinning room.

The house was alive, with love.

And as I was about to do the interview, a door opened, a door I didn’t even know was there, and in walked, Jane, Bill’s ex-wife and John and Allison’s mom.

Hugs all around, the Crews family Thanksgiving was complete.

“So John, Bill, dudes, tell me what Thanksgiving means to you.”

“…now suddenly I look around…”

John:  “It is my favorite holiday, no presents or gifts involved, it’s not about what you got or didn’t get, it’s about spending time with family spending time together.”

Bill:  “It’s all about spending time with the people you love, in the country you love, with the God you love.”

Two year old Ivy runs in and crawls up on John’s lap.

In my notes I write, “Ivy” and draw a smile.


Bill Crews, 70,  is a very successful Attorney and Businessman.  Very successful.  But he is also very conservative, very caring, very funny.  “db we say that Bill is a trip without the luggage,” Judy told me earlier in the kitchen, Bill who is petting the family dog with his stocking clad foot just looks at me and smiles.

“Bill, how did you feel that when John came out of college he pursued a career as a professional angler and not a career in law.”

John jumps in, “I think my father at one time envisioned that the two of us would be partners, that I would be working down the hall from him and that way we could spend a lot of time together…”

“…but db, I knew that for him to be happy it had to be HIS life, not MY life, it had to be what he wanted to do, not what I wanted him to do...”