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Criminal minds never take a holiday

The young man on the other end of the phone asked, “Grandma?”

Kathie Bailey at first thought it was a nephew calling.

“No, this is Aunt Kathie,” she said.

She asked if the caller might be her nephew, let’s call him, “Mike.”

He said he was.

The young man said he had been in an accident, was stranded and asked that Aunt Kathie send him money.

It was then that Kathie Bailey picked up on the fact that she had a scam artist on the line.

The young man was not her nephew. Once he realized his intended victim was onto him, the caller couldn’t get off the line quick enough.

“I wish I had let him talk longer,” Kathie said.

Even though she has caller ID, the call showed up only as “unknown.”

She wanted to share her experience with other Bradenton Herald readers, to help them be vigilant in this season of thanksgiving.

Beware of callers who give the impression when they call older residents of being a relative and asking for money. It could be, and probably is, a stranger who wants to take advantage of a good heart or family support to which they are not entitled.

Not even in a season of thanksgiving will some criminals give their bad instincts a break.

* * *

If we didn’t love Thanksgiving so much, it would get lost between the heavily commercialized Halloween and Christmas.

Thanksgiving is a time for heavy-duty cooking, extreme eating, counting our blessings and reconnecting with family.

And a time for putting oysters on the grill and shucking them on the back porch. At least at my house.

In the old days, we would go to the closest saltwater estuary and pick them up from the mud flats, shivering in the cold while our teeth chattered and our fingers turned blue. That was fun, memorable and uncomfortable.

Nowadays, it’s easier, and probably safer, to buy a half bushel from the nearby supermarket.

No matter how full, there is always room for the delicate taste of the oyster.

Pry them out of the shell nearly raw, or burnt to a crisp, it doesn’t matter to me. Dip them in some hot sauce and they’re all good.

But the best thing about shucking oysters is how it brings family members together.

Those wonderful moments of conversation are what I remember about Thanksgiving, long after the memory of the stuffing or the taste of the prized drumstick has faded.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.