Seeing Thanksgiving with John Crews

Bill went on to tell a story of how his Grandfather really wanted Bill to be a Doctor, pushed him that way, in fact Bill’s undergraduate degree is in Chemistry.

“…I did tell John though to go to college and get a degree…’

“…which I went to Randolph-Macon College and got a degree in Business/Economics…”

“…but I knew from an early age where John’s heart was, in fact I dug him a pond on the property here, it’s covered over now with me putting green, but it was right there that John caught his first fish, it was right there that I first understood.”

Both father and son look at each other, and smile.

“My father did nothing but encourage me to fish, I had 100% support from my family.”

After that quote I draw, a frown.

I never had the full support of my family, I was told repeatedly that only smart people can make a living writing, my mother pushed me to go to business school to get a degree in Hotel/Motel Management, my father wanted me to “get a foot in the Chevy plant.”

I left home.

Amid the yelling, I told them,

“…you just don’t understand.”

I’ve asked Bill now, many times, if he would just adopt me.

He hasn’t, but he has sent me gifts of very nice shoes.

Merrill Slip-Ons.

In black.

“…and everything looks new…”

In a very old house, comes some very new ideas.

“My dad is the smartest business person I know, db.”

I’m well aware of that via his refusal to make me kin.

“All my life he has encouraged me, and my sister Allison to have the entrepreneurial spirit…”

I’m in a library that was built while America was being built, a structure constructed downwind of Thomas Jefferson, I’m one room over from a desk owned by one of the Founding Fathers, Patrick Henry, all around me are artifacts to the greatest entrepreneurial success story in history.

The United States of America.

Only entrepreneurs want freedom for all.

To me, Thanksgiving is not only a holiday to be thankful for family, for faith, but also, very thankful for the foresight of the entrepreneurial spirit of our Founding Fathers.

If you don’t think the first Thanksgiving wasn’t a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit, the fact they tried something new, proved it could work,  America is the absolute byproduct of people looking for a new way to do things, looking for the freedom to live their life, not someone else’s.

“…it was my father who encouraged me to start my company, Missile Baits.”

In 2012, John Crews started his own soft plastic lure company, Missile Baits.  The company now has 2 full time employees and product in over 100 independent tackle shops, as well as in large retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Academy, Sport Chalet, Sportsmans Warehouse, and a few Wal-mart stores.

“Don’t get me wrong db, I have great sponsors, but in these tough economic times, sponsors can come and go, and one day, through no fault of your own you can find yourself without sponsors.  Fishing with your own money is like treading water, most won’t make it.  With Missile Baits, I’m getting so that I can control my own future if I have to.”


From the chair off to my right, Bill is looking at me but talking to John, “…you have to do it with integrity, integrity cannot be bought and sold, it must be earned, so while I support John in what he does, I told him that it must, must be built with integrity as the key.”

And with that Ivy came back in and said, softly, “Dinner, daddy.”

“…I don't know why but I think I'm starting to learn…”

At a table built for 10, there sat 13.

Before we commenced to eating, we all held hands, and each person at the table spoke of what it was they gave thanks for.

They spoke of thanks for, family.

They spoke of thanks, for friends.

They spoke of thanks, for faith.

When it was my turn, I gave thanks for all of the above, plus saying how thankful I was that the Crews family allowed Barb and I in…and you their Thanksgiving celebration.

And then the passing began…turkey, gravy and handed down recipes.  Sonja had made a plate of fruit look like a gobbler, Judy a family pear and apple cobbler, Jane a blackberry wine cake., Barb and I a box of Italian cookies.

Believe if you believe.

Wonder if you wonder.

Under the tall upland pines of Virginia what I was really the most thankful for,

was the understanding,

that my way came.

And for that moment of standing in heaven, when all things became clear.

That at the table that all on earth sit around,

we should all hold hands,

and give thanks for everyone sitting with us,

give thanks,

for the time we have together,

for the family that we all belong to,

for the friends we all should be,

for the greatest entrepreneur, who gives us the freedom to be us, and not him.

And when all that happens, hopefully someday soon,

as we walk under the tall upland pines of Virginia,

we will realize, that we all are,

standing in heaven,

and there will come to all of us,


Where all of us will be seeing Thanksgiving,

with new eyes.

Like me.

“…they call it understanding.”


Bob Seeger

Happy Thanksgiving,



Editor's note: See more photos of db's holiday with the Crews family here