Friday, November 24, 2006

My previously traditional day after Thanksgiving involves the whole Black Friday day of early morning shopping. This tradition started when my sister Sarah said that it sounded like fun, and we should try it so that we wouldn't blindly be calling people ridiculous for getting up and rushing department store doors for early bird sales.

Maybe we should've known we'd be hooked. We found a lot of great deals that first year--free gifts and samples and amazing sales. We got up at 5 or 5:30 and drove to Franklin Park Mall, a 40 minute drive from Pemberville (where we lived). We hadn't had our morning coffee, and so after hitting Kohl's (spending 20-25 minutes in line), we found ourselves in front of Barnes & Noble, because the mall wasn't opening till later, but Barnes & Noble was open, and so was the cafe. That coffee may have been the only reason we survived the morning.

And we only did stay out till 11 or so. We had another family Thanksgiving--with Mom's side of the family this time--waiting for us that afternoon, and we were beat.

In the coming years, we would get up earlier (and earlier). Barnes & Noble wouldn't be open in those still-dark hours, but the mall would, and though there wasn't coffee till the kiosks and the one coffeeshop opened, there were three department stores to rush through while we waited for the rest of the mall catch up with the early risers. I think the customer service actually got worse (not that you can expect great customer service on Black Friday). My cousin Brandi started coming out with us in the wee hours. Sarah moved to another state, where she continued the tradition of early morning shopping.

For the first Black Friday without Sarah, I called her on her cell (she'd informed us that she'd be hitting the mall soon). She was in Kohl's in Chapel Hill, and we'd just left Kohl's in Toledo. But it was too busy to keep trying to talk on the phone, a fact that disappointed me a little. (This was before walking around with headsets glued to the side of your head was trendy.)

In Canada, there is no Black Friday. Thanksgiving is before Halloween. I had to phone my family on Thanksgiving, like Sarah had been for years, to say hello and that I missed them. I didn't get to partake of the annual feast because neither Roger nor I had the energy (nor the patience) for that kind of kitchen intensity. Brandi said she wasn't going shopping in the morning without me because it wouldn't be the same.

And today, I felt all out of sorts because I knew I was missing the Black Friday shopping and two Thanksgiving feasts with family I dearly love. I suppose it had to happen sometime--everything has changed in the last couple years. This year, half of my cousins on my mom's side of the family weren't going to be joining the extended family feast because they either had to work, or, like me, they were just too far away, and we only get to pick one holiday to be there for. At least we all pick the same holiday and I can look forward to seeing everyone at Christmas, eh?

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