In the 70's we called the day after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday". It was our protest than. Now Black Friday means something entirely different. The children of old hippies call it "National Buy Nothing Day".
It has never made sense to me, spending Thursday giving thanks for all that God has done for us in the last year, only to get up early on Friday for a wild spending spree. If I am going to be honest, I have to admit that not buying anything the day after Thanksgiving was not my primary motive. I married a wild man. Together we raised boys on a mountain valley right next door to where the wild things are. We did sit down at the kitchen table for meals but going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving was a formal affair for my country boys. No overalls or barn boots, NO FIGHTS. I spent most of my year preparing them to keep their elbows off the table and their arms at their sides. Say, "Please" before "pass the potatoes," do not take that last serving of anything, no gas wars, and clean up your plate before you take it to the sink. I was happy with my boys when we got into the car to go home. If they did some foe-pah, I would hear about it later. We had a whole year to work on it. The promised reward? On Friday we take left-overs and go sledding!
Even when T-day was spent at one of the grandma's homes, I still made a Turkey and pumpkin pie. We would need sandwiches and dessert for Friday. Ray would pack a feast into the jeep while we got pillows, sleeping bags and snow clothes into the back seat with a nice nest for any dogs we had at the time. Sometimes we were on the road before first light, sometimes not, it was a casual day of music for our children's hearts and "I spy with my little eye" all the way to the Y. The Y is the gas station that marks the corner where sledders turn off of Stevens Pass to Blewett Pass in Washington State. Dad can make sure we have enough gasoline in the tank, mom can get coffees, licorice and bags of nuts to sustain us on the final leg of our journey.
There was always a crowd of families who made the journey. There must have been lots of good boys at grandma's table the day before. I cannot believe how blessed we have been. The sledding area is not for the faint of heart. Ray had so many pictures of both boys while they had air time. No broken bones, no cracked heads. Only the occasional bruised sit-down on our wild boys. Chris tended to plan for distance, Jason for height. Me? I spent the afternoon laughing and prayed for safety.
At dusk, which comes early in the Northwest, we would drag our tired but still raring to go boys into the car. As long as we were this far we would end our night with a drive through Leavenworth to see the Christmas lights. A few oohs and awes before heading home where everyone was sure to sleep sound, except for Dad who had to unload the car.
This year we remembered those days while snuggled up together on the couch in front of the TV. I guess we got old. We might still get ourselves to Leavenworth before Christmas for a new ornament. We don't really celebrate Christmas much any more but we love the traditions, the lights and the music. Our boys still love Christmas. Maybe we will go find a fresh tree somewhere. But that will be another story.