I have written about the name of my blog before, but perhaps, at the end of the year, it is appropriate that I do so again. Bobo is sometimes a derisive name applied to a clown or joker. The closest Bobo in my neighborhood was a black cat belonging to my neighbors across the street. It is close to the name by which my elder son is verbally addressed–Boh. When I was thinking of names for my blog, I decided I wanted something alliterative, and the name “Bobosbest” seemed to flow. Now for the main point of this discussion: I am the son of Thomas Bobo Cooper (my daddy), the grandson of Clara Bobo (my grandmother). As Thomas Bobo Cooper, Jr., I feared some of my classmates would discover that horrible middle moniker when I was in high school and thus used Tommy to keep friends away from my middle name. However, by the time I was an adult and a married man, when our first child was born, my wife and I agreed that he should be Thomas Bobo Cooper, III who has become just “Boh” Cooper. He added the H to make it Boh and wears the name well. However, there will be no Thomas Bobo Cooper IV as Boh’s son has already arrived, and his name is Luke.
When I was in high school, I was teased unmercifully because I was not involved in sports. It was a Southern tradition that males play some kind of team sport. I, on the other hand, took piano lessons instead of joining a ball team and practicing with the team for hours. I was, of course, labeled a “sissy,” a label to which I was very sensitive. So, what does one do to dispel the “sissy” label? One goes out for a sport, and I decided my sport would be football. After all, it was just guys bumping into each other. I had some trouble working out my piano lessons with the football practices, but I joined the team…until the coach sent me in, and I huddled with the wrong team. Since football was evidently not my source of escape from being a “sissy,” I went out for basketball. Before we could leave a practice session, we were required to shoot a certain number of baskets. When I failed to reach the minimum over and over, the coach finally said, “Cooper, go home.” I therefore went home with my “sissy” title intact.
I grew up in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. Piedmont means “the foothills.” Our small town was at the foot of the mountains rather than in the mountains, and the climate was summer : hot and winter : chilly. I was much more capable of handling the summer : hot than the winter : chilly. So long as I could find a breeze or a fan, I could accept the heat. However, to remedy the cold, I had to find water heat or a nice, heavy blanket. I can remember coming home in the dark from a movie or some nighttime activity and rushing into the house as soon as the door was opened, seeking the heater, if it were on, or the bed if it was close to bedtime. Doubled up under the bedclothes, freezing until the bed warmed up a bit offered the promise of eventual satisfaction. I am still a non-lover of cold weather. Fortunately, I ended up in Florida where the chill is not so severe most of the year. I am older now, a long way from my childhood. All I want for Christmas is a nice heavy blanket to throw over me when I decide to lie down when the house feels just a bit chilly. I don’t want anything too fancy, just a normal blanket, big enough to cover me until I warm up.
My inquisitive Greek partner was on the phone with his mother when he asked me, “Where did the name ‘Black Friday’ come from?” Eager to help, I ran to the computer, typed in “derivation of the name ‘Black Friday'” on Google and found a strange answer. Google’s explanation was that, while many associate Black Friday with the days of slavery, the real answer is that, since black is associated with positive financial news and red is associated with negative finances, “Black Friday” became the name for the days following Thanksgiving when stores count a huge number of shoppers in order to bring them into positive financial territory for the end of the year. Another explanation suggested that Black Friday was so named because people called in sick on the Friday after Thanksgiving, hoping thereby to buy for themselves a four-day weekend. It sounds to me that Black Friday is so named with many explanations as to the derivation but with no one knowing for sure. All I know is that on Black Friday I was able to purchase light bulbs for 80 cents each at Lowe’s and a wireless mouse for $8.99 at Staples.
On November 16th, Dimitris and I boarded a Southwest Airlines plane and flew to Ronald Reagan airport in Washington, D. C. The challenge was to see in four and one-half days as much as we could see in the nation’s capital. Utilizing the Metro system and the Hop-on/Hop-off buses were integral to our getting around as quickly as possible. The Metro immediately became an asset as we had to use it in order to get to our tour bus starting point at Union Station. The buses were a challenge as different colored buses went to different parts of the city. When we got off one bus, the wait for the next bus was sometimes much longer than the predicted thirty minutes. We ended up spending two complete days riding off and on buses and saw many major sites including the Washington monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, Arlington cemetery, the White House, the Pentagon mall, etc. Our only Smithsonian stop this trip was at the National Postal Museum. A follow-up trip would be to investigate all of the museums. My future citizen partner was enthralled with the city and kept me on the go.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing. I am full of gratitude on this Thanksgiving day, 2016. I am 78 years old, have experienced many health challenges such as two encounters with cancer, two knee replacements, angioplasty, a ruptured appendix. No wonder, when I awaken each morning, I am so grateful for life that I say, “Thank you, Lord.” That utterance doesn’t only come to my lips in the morning but occurs randomly during the day as I live my life. I am not what you might call a Bible thumper, but I have a very foundational belief in a Creator Who influences my life and Who responds to my communications. I am very grateful for the United States of America and for President Barack Obama, our nation’s leader who has led our nation for the past eight years. I believe the founding Fathers gave us a basis for becoming the great nation we have become. I am not a super patriot in that I don’t believe my country can do no wrong. However, I do believe that our system of government, for the most part, works for the betterment of Americans. God bless America on this Thanksgiving day.
When I last visited with my daughter and her family in Naples, FL a short time ago, I enjoyed eating a home-cooked meal which my daughter prepared. The meal included meatloaf, stuffed mushrooms, and a potato concoction that had lots of vegetables blended in. I thoroughly enjoyed everything that was served, but I especially appreciated the stuffed mushrooms. I could have made, and would have enjoyed, an entire meal of those stuffed mushrooms. Coming home, I took out my “Recipe Book for Amateurs” and sure enough found a “simple” recipe for stuffed mushrooms. The next trip we made to the grocery store included purchasing some nice-sized mushrooms. When I checked my recipe book, I was surprised to read that I needed to add spinach souffle. What in the world is spinach souffle? I looked it up on Google and learned that it was a combination of milk, eggs, garlic, and salt and pepper so I set about making the mix. I removed the stems, stuffed the mushrooms with my “souffle” after dipping them in melted butter and baked them at 350 degrees for ten minutes. They were not bad, especially after we added parmesan cheese, but they weren’t what I had in Naples. I’m going to have to check with my daughter. I’ve already learned that I should have used Portobello mushrooms.