---- — The sound of traditions colliding could be heard for miles on Thanks- giving this year. It was the sound of children whining. The children in question were my 8- and 6-year-old nieces. But here’s the beauty of it — they weren’t mad at me. They were mad at my sister.
Here’s how the conversation went on Thursday afternoon:
Me: Girls, will you be mad if I go shopping for a couple hours with Mommy tonight?
Girls: Both shaking their heads no, the oldest pointed to their mom.
Me: You’ll be mad at Mommy? Why?
The oldest: It’s not fair! She gets to spend more time with you today than we do.
Me, folding my hands behind my head and leaning back: Ahhh, it’s so nice to be the favorite.
Anyway, when all was said and done, the girls handled the whole thing quite well. We did promise to buy them something and said they could stay up late so we could hang out when we got home. Those treats (read as bribes) worked well.
We kicked off our Black Friday shopping at Walmart. The big sale started at 6 p.m., so we left the house shortly after 5. After that madness, we made a very quick stop at Meijer and still managed to get home before 7:30 p.m.
We didn’t want to go shopping on Thanksgiving night, but we had to. Now, before you get up in arms about holidays being a time for family, let me explain.
Black Friday is one of the oldest traditions I have. It’s one of the first things my sister and I enjoyed doing together, which back then was a rarity. Her 17 and me 16, we weren’t what you would call buddies.
But she had her driver’s license and we somehow talked mom into letting us go to Muncie at 4 a.m. We didn’t go for the good deals. At our age, it took all the money we had to buy gas for the 40-minute trip.
We went for the free stuff.
Back in the day, every store gave away something. For JCPenney, it was Mickey Mouse snow globes. It’s a tradition the retailer brought back this year to our delight. (Yes, we got there at 5 a.m. on Friday just to make sure we got one. My sister and I, we take tradition seriously.)
Anyway, back then we were on a mission to see how many free things we could get. That meant hitting as many stores as possible as quickly as possible. We would scour the circulars and devise a plan of attack. We would literally run in one door, grab the free goody and run out the other door — laughing our heads off the whole time.
We’d get home and go through our loot. Sometimes we were victorious and sometimes we weren’t, but we always had a great time. We’ve been doing it ever since.
As my sister and I have gotten older, we’ve become friends. Really, really good friends. But responsibilities and distance don’t allow us to hang out as much as we’d like. And going on nine years now, we don’t get to hang out with just the two of us — except for Black Friday. The kids and her husband are asleep and it’s a once-a-year chance for us to spend some time together alone.
While our mission has changed — we now have shopping money — the tradition of us spending time together hasn’t. It’s for that reason I love Black Friday, even if it comes too early nowadays.
Misty Knisely, managing editor, can be reached at 574-732-5155 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her: @PharosMK