Black Friday (aka You Won’t Catch Me in the Mall!)


Rock Island High Fieldhouse, aka "The Rock Garden".

There are two groups of individuals that cultivate around Thanksgiving:  Black Friday shoppers and regular people.  Okay, that’s a bit harsh.  There are shoppers and then there are people who are unlikely to camp out in front of the mall at 3:00 a.m. waiting to get the best discounts on the face of the earth.

My family are the latter.  After having our fill of Thanksgiving dinner, we slept in a little later on Friday morning, get up, and talk about the crazy shoppers until we’re blue in the face.  To us, Black Friday is a chance to get a few things in order as the Holiday Season officially kicked off on Thanksgiving Day.

On Friday, my niece, my mom, and I put together the Christmas tree.  Last year, Mom decided not to unwrap the lights off of the tree, preferring to leave them on the artificial pine lookalike, so she could cut time on messing with it when we pulled it out of the box.  For a 10-year period, from 1993 to 2003, we didn’t put up a Christmas tree.  We didn’t have one, after my stepdad decided to jettisoned the old one that I grew up with.  He didn’t see a need in it.


The Christmas lights, outside of Mom's house.


That changed when my ever-active niece, Kadren, was born in 2003.  Mom bought the current tree when Kadren was 2 months old.

For the past six years, we’ve watched Miss Kadren, crawl, wobble, and now sprint to the tree on Christmas morning to shred the wrapping paper like a Tasmanian Devil itching to destroy anything in its way.

We don’t do the holiday season with as much fervor and over-the-top as Charlie Brown bemoans every December.  Everything is about the kid, since she’s the only grandchild in the family.  I don’t ask for much because I don’t know what I want most of the time.  That doesn’t stop Mom and my sister to incessantly poke me about it. I would rather watch Charlie Brown and Ralphie Parker than spent hours trying to find a great gift for everyone.

The holiday season should be simple and reasonable, not turn into a Macy’s-like extravaganza. Clark W. Griswold learned that the hard way.

On a side note, I want to pass my thoughts to Joe Birkland of “The Learning Curve.” Joe’s mom passed away recently and I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my sympathies and prayers to Joe and his family.

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