This blog might seem totally off topic as far as food and farming goes, but is it? A lot of what I talk about here is what breaking bread with one another does for us as people. And how we come together and create bonds.
It's the day after Thanksgiving - also known as "Black Friday".
I'm still full... I have our pasture raised turkey carcass in a pot simmering to make a soup (because I waste nothing), and will be doing the same with the ham bone later today.
And for the first time in almost 20 years... I will not be shopping today.
This might surprise a lot of you to learn this about me, but I was a line-standing, door-busting, deal-getting Black Friday shopper for most of my adult life.
And I'm not sorry... I LOVED it... I still do... and I MISS it...
And now you're probably thinking "Wendy, those people are psychos, I can't believe you're saying this!?!?!?"
But hear me out on this one... See Black Friday was as much a family tradition as Thanksgiving was.
This was a tradition and a joy that my father-in-law and I especially shared - we were the only ones that could hang for full on all-nighter's of this magnitude.
Every year, I would go get a couple of copies of the paper on Thanksgiving, and after dinner, the entire family would spread out across the living room after dinner - passing the ads around - planning our route - getting Christmas lists from the kids and each other (and let's not lie, we all put down a few things for ourselves while we were in the moment).
It was time as a family that we shared and laughed. It was a cooperative effort (if one person was looking for something, and someone else was going to that store, we would pick that item up for the other). And it brought us together.
Then we'd take our naps, and rally around 9:30 or 10:00, grab our jackets, beanies, and hot chocolates, and go get in line.
And let me tell you about all those "psychos" -
They had done the same thing with their families the previous day... Those lines were not people anxiously waiting for deals... First and foremost, they were out spending time with their families. Some of whom had flown in from other states for the holiday, some had driven in from out of town.
The alternative for most was that they would be in bed asleep - not doing this kind of additional bonding.
And while I see how there is a segment of the population that has never participated in this tradition that might think we were hypocrites in this practice to 'go out and exercise a glut of consumerism immediately after being thankful for what you already have'
But these hours spent in line were a time we really could be thankful for how fortunate we were in life - and we could share this with not just the family and friends that participated in it, but complete strangers as well.
Here's what those news stories don't focus on.
Almost every single person I've come into contact with while sharing in this tradition was in a great mood! We shared stories of burned turkeys, and how we had found the PERFECT recipe for pecan pie with each other. We shared our hot chocolates, our umbrellas when we needed them. We shared numb fingers, and red wind-burned noses. We honestly had a great time.
And yeah, there was an occasional jerk - but let's be realistic - aren't there always a couple of jerks in everything in life???
Those people were few and far between, and there was no way they could harsh our buzz.
And from there, we went from store to store, standing in line after line, having the best eff'ing time.
We stayed up ALLLLLL night with each other.
And when we finally got home and crashed, we had not only gotten most of our holiday shopping done already - we had all of these memories we had created with each other.
And isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about???
My mother in law mentioned yesterday evening how she missed seeing us do that.
I do too, Karen.
When the hours creeped earlier and earlier into Thanksgiving evening, and then throughout Thanksgiving Day, we lost track of the tradition. We went a few years, but after the door-buster period - the experience just wasn't the same. Now it was just shopping like any other day.
And that's the thing about it that most people just don't understand...
Black Friday was never about the shopping, or about the stuff.