Friday, December 20, 2019



In 1960, on the front lawn of an elementary school in North East Dallas, a tradition was born. A group of seventh-grade boys captured the free time before Thanksgiving dinner to engage in a game of touch football. It was a good day to play. So good, in fact, that the game would resume each year at the same time in the same place.

The last game was held on November 26, 2009, marking 50 years of the Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational. You are invited to celebrate the RTI’s 60-year mark with us on Thanksgiving 2019 as we release our book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story.

Book Details:

Title: The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story

Authors: Brent Parrott, Bryan Renfro

Genre: non-fiction, memoir 

Published: November 14, 2019

Print length: 410 pages


A few of your favorite things:

Brent: spending time with my grandkids, traveling, my work, working out, being with friends and family.
Bryan: building relationships, weekend getaways, Bible study, sports.

Things you need to throw out:

Brent: not sure of the question, but I pretty much throw out things I don’t need.
Bryan: too many tools!

Things you need in order to write:

Brent: comfort and silence and the internet and my PC.
Bryan: time only.

Things that hamper your writing:

Brent: work, not enough hours in the day, normal distractions.
Bryan: forcing it into a time slot; an impending appointment

Things you love about writing:

Brent: the creative process, the rush when your on a role, a finished perfection
Bryan: getting it right the first draft

Things you hate about writing:

Brent: writer’s paralysis, brain fog, loss for the right word or sentence.
Bryan: getting it wrong the first time, second, third, fourth…..

Easiest thing about being a writer:

Brent: again, getting on a roll and it just flows.
Bryan: getting the ideas out and on the page

Hardest thing about being a writer:

Brent: not sure but critiques can be hell.
Bryan: self expectations, discouragement; using the proper words, creating metaphor

Things you love about where you live:

Brent: born and raised in Dallas, close to family and lots of friends.
Bryan: I live in the house I grew up in, so little change.

Things that make you want to move:

Brent : weather, traffic.
Bryan: August and September.

Things you never want to run out of:

Brent: family, friends, toilet paper.
Bryan: relationships, health, faith, golf balls.

Things you wish you’d never bought:

Brent: couple of timeshares, a 1972 Audi.
Bryan: a swimming pool installation, a motorcycle.

Words that describe you:

Brent: my wife says I’m sarcastic, but I claim I’m creatively sharp and witty; a devoted husband, father and friend; competitive but fair.
Bryan: loyal, diligent, creative, sensitive.

Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:

Brent: always having to be right; sarcastic; argumentative.
Bryan: too competitive, poor storyteller, poor listener.

Favorite foods:

Brent: a good steak; Mexican food; breakfast food.
Bryan: Pad Tai, enchiladas, cheeseburgers, salad.

Things that make you want to throw up: 

Brent: politics; all the hate; beets.
Bryan: politics, financial advisors, afternoon television.

Favorite music or song:

Brent: love my music which is immense.
Bryan: “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.”

Music that make your ears bleed:

Brent: most rap and most heavy metal.
Bryan: rap, warbly vocals, Christmas music after the second week.

Favorite beverage:

Brent: iced tea and beer.
Bryan: Dr Pepper, iced tea, water.

Something that gives you a pickle face:

Brent: my wife’s comments sometimes; political analysts.

Favorite smell:

Brent: my wife’s aroma; fresh baked bread.
Bryan: mown grass on the golf course.

Something that makes you hold your nose:

Brent: some bathroom smells; brussels sprouts.

Something you’re really good at:

Brent: I think I’m good at making my point; swimming; being creative; my work whatever it is.
Bryan: maintaining relationships; Bible study; furniture building and repair.

Something you’re really bad at:

Brent: skiing, drawing, showing my feelings.
Bryan: coming prepared, research, remembering.

Something you wish you could do:

Brent: travel more, fly a plane, turn back time.
Bryan: write books that challenge and inspire; run as fast and as far as I used to; plumbing and electrical repairs.

Something you wish you’d never learned to do:

Brent: not sure of this question; I love to learn.
Bryan: say, “Yes, of course I will help you with that.”

Something you like to do:

Brent: workout, time with family and friends, work, get a good night’s sleep.
Bryan: church, relationships, garage sales, wood working projects.

Something you wish you’d never done:

Brent: married my first wife; not taking early school years more serious.
Bryan: I still wince at actions or words I did or said many years ago.

Last best thing you ate:

Brent: a protein shake.
Bryan: a bowl of my wife’s chili on a cold grey day.

Last thing you regret eating:

Brent: old enough to know what not to eat.
Bryan: my promise to help.

Things you’d walk a mile for:

Brent: glad I can walk a mile, so I’d walk a mile to anything I needed to walk a mile to.
Bryan: a two-hour travel time for an important fifteen minute conversation.

Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:

Brent: never would go screaming from the room I’d just leave before it got that bad.
Bryan: my dog threw-up on the sofa.

Things you always put in your books:

Brent: another question not sure what to say, I guess my name and a title.
Bryan: attempts at wisdom, humor, and truth but they never make the conversation.

Things you never put in your books:

Brent: not sure, how bout self-promotion
Bryan: though I try yet always fail, I never achieve wisdom, humor, and truth.

Things to say to an author:

Brent: a successful author or a struggling author? What’s the secret to your success; don’t give up, keep writing if you love it.
Bryan: “How do you write dialogue?”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:

Brent: Brent Parrott would be a great name for your next victim you kill off in your next book.
Bryan: in no manner worthy of Lonesome Dove.

Favorite places you’ve been:

Brent: Carmel, California; Italy; Costa Rica.
Bryan: a remote cabin in Montana on honeymoon. “Let’s go again, Babes!” 

Places you never want to go to again:

Brent: India.
Bryan: U. S. Army.

People you’d like to invite to dinner:

Brent: any of my good friends; Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi – I could make it work.
Bryan: my house, my table could not accommodate all the deceased friends and family members that I wish I could enjoy one last time.

People you’d cancel dinner on:

Brent: Trump and Pelosi if they did not agree with the agenda.

Favorite things to do:

Brent: watch a great movie, a great sporting event; exercise; and time with the grandkids.
Bryan: working wood in my shop; watching my wife at an antique mall; hearing my daughter and granddaughters laugh till it hurts; hearing my wife pray; having lunch with old friends; a DYI project that went well; bringing a good bible study lesson on Sunday mornings;  a good day on the golf course; reading.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:

Brent: literally I’d never do that, figuratively getting my hands dirty; doing this questionnaire again. Editor’s note: the instructions advised not to answer every question!
Bryan: a Christmas party.

Things that make you happy:

Brent: life.
Bryan: getting out of running through a fire wearing gasoline pants; old cars, old airplanes, old friends; a good morning devotional time; a weekend getaway with surprisingly good food, accommodations, and activities; coffee in the den with my wife.

Things that drive you crazy:

Brent: life and sometimes my wife.
Bryan: being no longer able to make simple repairs on an automobile.

Proudest moment:

Brent: when my daughter and when my grandkids were born.
Bryan: watching my children achieve what they perceive as goals.

Most embarrassing moment:

Brent: really don’t get embarrassed, I just roll with it; although I was really embarrassed at my first date when my dad had to tell me to walk her to the door.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told:

Brent: not answering for self-incrimination reasons
Bryan: that I am intelligent, honest, and fearless.

A lie you wish you’d told:

Brent: that I couldn’t afford those timeshares.
Bryan: “I wish I could help you with that but . . .”

Best thing you’ve ever done:

Bryan: respond to God’s calling in my life to trust/receive/believe in Jesus Christ.  

Biggest mistake:

Brent: I’ve learned from my mistakes, so no regrets.
Bryan: Going my own way instead of following God’s leading.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:

Brent: too many to tell.
Bryan: embraced Brent Parrott as a friend.

Something you chickened out from doing:

Brent: riding out a hurricane in Miami.
Bryan: at one time in my life I thought there was no dare I wouldn’t own but then I sat in the first row at a rodeo and watched bull riding.

The last thing you did for the first time:

Brent: write this book with Bryan.

Something you’ll never do again:

Brent: buy a timeshare; get married.
Bryan: spend so much time answering a questionnaire.


Brent Parrott is a writer, former technology executive and teacher, and currently serves as Board Chairman for the charter schools of Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy. With his life-long friend, Bryan Renfro, he is co-author of The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, a memoir about a group of friends who kept an annual touch football game going for 50 straight years.

He is also the author of two new books scheduled for publication in 2020, Jackpot: The Summer of ’69 and What Would You Do? What Would You Not Do? Brent and his wife Robyn (that’s right, two bird names) spend as much time as possible with their daughter Brynn, son-in-law Jacob, and two amazing grandsons. He has always lived, worked, and played in Dallas, Texas.

Bryan Renfro graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at Arlington and was drafted into the Army the following year during the Vietnam war. He was the editor and sports writer for Sound Off, the base’s newspaper in Fort Meade, Maryland. His work life followed an untraditional path for the times as he experienced a mix of endeavors through the years, including the furniture importing business.

For five decades, he served as the organizer and “Commissioner” of an annual Thanksgiving touch football game in Dallas, Texas. Known locally as the Turkey Bowl, Bryan chronicled his experiences in the book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, with co-author Brent Parrott. The 400-page memoir was published for the game’s 60th anniversary in 2019. Today, Bryan lives in Dallas with his wife LaDonna and enjoys bible study, photography, his woodshop, and nurturing long-time friendships.

Connect with the authors:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book: