Bainbridge man looks back on special Thanksgiving memory

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015


A young American GI who actually grew up in England before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps recalled a special Thanksgiving weekend spent in Decatur County back in 1944.

David Crockett was stationed at Turner Field in Albany in November 1944 and was hitchhiking through Georgia on his way to Madison, Florida, to see his girlfriend whom he later married. A motorist by the name of Mayo Livingston Sr. picked him up and gave him a ride.

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As they traveled along, Livingston heard the story of how Crockett had just arrived in Albany from Texas and didn’t know anyone in Georgia. He asked Crockett where he would be spending Thanksgiving. Crockett replied he would probably eat in the mess hall.

At that point, Livingston replied, “Oh no. You must come and spend the weekend with my family. I’ll have someone come and get you.”

And he did.

Crockett remembers it was a lovely home and that Livingston took him quail hunting one of the days. “It was such a nice event. He was so gracious to me, a 19 year old GI he didn’t even know.”

Crockett remembers Mayo Livingston Jr. was 14 at that time, and although Crockett and his wife Faye now live in Bainbridge, he has never had opportunity to meet up with any of the Livingston family again.

He was reminded of the generosity and welcoming hospitality when he read recently of Mayo Livingston Jr. being named Ag Man of the Year.

In case you wonder how Crockett, from England ended up in the U.S. Army Air Corps, it is explained by the fact that his father, an American, was in the service during World War I. He was wounded and was recovering in an English hospital when he met an English lady he later married. He decided to remain in England and worked for the U.S. government.

When World War II broke out and David came of age he learned there was a recruiter in London who was working for the American forces. Crockett had been a cadet with the RAF, and when he turned 18 he decided to go join the American Army Air Corps. He was transported to the U.S. for training and arrived on a convoy ship that also carried German prisoners captured in the African campaign.

Crockett never did see combat, but was scheduled to go to Okinawa as a flight engineer when the war ended. He was discharged on New Years Day in 1946.

From there he decided to go to school on the GI Bill and ended up in Gainesville where he earned a degree in business administration.

Following his retirement, he and his second wife Faye were living out west and decided to move back east to be closer to her family.

They have had a fascinating life together and many interesting stories could be written about how they met, married and lived their lives together since 1999.

But, this story is about Thanksgiving. It clearly shows the importance the Livingstons attach to caring and sharing at Thanksgiving .

Several years ago Mayo Livingston Jr. started the tradition of recruiting volunteers to come to the Methodist Church on Thanksgiving morning to pack dinners to be taken to the homes of those who are alone, or are shut-ins.

That tradition continues to this day. Now it is coordinated by Mayo Sr.’s grandson, Joe Livingston. It is always under the watchful eye of Mayo Jr., who comes out on Thanksgiving Day to welcome the workers and thank them for giving up part of their Thanksgiving to help others.