I’ve never liked the term “Black Friday.” It sounds ominous – like that movie where somebody tried to blow up a blimp over the Superbowl. If it’s a day where you are out looking to find a gift to celebrate the birth of a savior and present to a loved one in His honor, shouldn’t it have a more joyous nickname befitting the occasion?

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and millions of shoppers hit malls and stores across America in a frenzy of shopping all packed in like sardines occasionally to the point of trampling fellow shoppers in search of the last Cabbage Patch Kid…or whatever. I was never really all that excited about Black Friday and really chose not to participate.

The best Black Friday tradition ever was when I was still married. My (now ex) wife was a nature girl and loved living in the mountains.  One year on Black Friday it dawned clear and cool and sunny. We decided to go for a hike. 

We drove for miles on a tiny road used mostly for logging and fire access although it was paved (mostly) called “Mosquito Ridge.” We followed it until it came to a bridge over a beautiful wild river. We parked.

We hiked upstream, into the mountain passing waterfalls and pools holding trout. Whitewater crashed over the rocks where in the summertime the occasional gold miner can be found. On this day, a day of crowds, we didn’t see another human being. Bright colored leaves from the trees in the forest were scattered on the path in front of us.

After an hour or so of wandering upstream, we came to a confluence, a place where a tributary fed into the main river.  Strong currents came together with an impressive force and right in the very middle of this is a large boulder. The boulder is shaped almost like an easy chair. It has a smooth person size natural seat.  By stepping carefully on other rocks, you could reach this boulder and sit in that seat and have two rivers come crashing together literally right around you.

The sound of the water and the feel of the spray the color of the leaves falling from the trees and the deep blue of the sky was unforgettable and humbling. Being able to share it with my wife and she with me made it special. So, to me, THAT is my favorite Black Friday experience.

In a short time, I am going to visit my daughter and son-in-law for Thanksgiving. I will get to see my 3 grandchildren and my new extended family. I have been invited to experience a new tradition. New for me anyway. 

My son-in-law’s family has many holiday traditions. Some of them involve Thanksgiving. The day after, Black Friday, the guys all go play golf and smoke cigars and bond.  The women get up early and go shopping on Black Friday. It’s a big deal. They even do up T-Shirts.

2 years ago, I was a part of that tradition. I played golf with the guys.

This year, my daughter called and asked me to join them for Thanksgiving. I was thrilled and immediately accepted. She then asked if I would like to join them for Black Friday – shopping with the girls. She is even having a t-shirt made. Brushing back tears, I said: “Of course I would.”

So here I am, in what has been a 16 month cascade of “firsts” for me, I am embracing another “first.” Black Friday shopping. I could never see the attraction before – but maybe it’s the Estrogen – I just can’t say “no” to a shopping trip!  

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