Art Shirley is something of an institution in Oxford.
Usually the illustrator’s cartoons explain themselves, but HottyToddy.com thought the impact of Shirley’s Thanksgiving cartoon this year was even more touching with the back story revealed.
Art says the idea for the cartoon was germinating in his head for a long time. “I would see people — mostly kids but we’re all guilty — hunched over in what looked like a posture of prayer, and would find out they were checking their phone messages or texting on their smart phones,” he explained. “This realization always left me with a sadness that we’re all so preoccupied with our busy lives and technology that we don’t take the time for what’s really important — our faith and our families.”
The former cartoon strip creator for the Daily Mississippian approached the subject as he usually does through his creative talent to draw images on paper. “I started out with the punchline going the other way,” he said. “In that version, the parents think their family is praying, but they’re really using their cell phones. Then I thought, ‘That’s too negative — why not express a positive message for Thanksgiving.’ So we flipped the punchline and I think it leaves people with a feeling of good will at this special time of year. I hope everyone who sees the cartoon will think about the importance of the holiday and the value in giving thanks for everything we have.”
For Shirley and his wife, Becky, those blessings include two boys currently in college, one at Ole Miss, Will, and the other, Drew, at Mississippi State. Shirley admits this makes for lively Thanksgiving conversation. He adds with a chuckle that his wife and his sophomore son at State don’t always laugh at his pro-Rebel cartoons.
Still, the Shirley’s love the holidays, including football rivalries, count their blessings, and wish a happy, healthy Thanksgiving to all HottyToddy.com readers.
Andy Knef is Editor of HottyToddy.com and looking forward to his first Egg Bowl this Thanksgiving.