Black Friday? Bah Humbug

Published 7:28 pm Friday, November 27, 2020

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Given the choice, I would rather do hard time at Julia Tutwiler Prison than spend an hour in a shopping mall.

So, I don’t understand the mad rush on the day after Thanksgiving to buy, buy, buy items that nobody really wants or needs or will ever use just because of the four-letter word “SALE.”

My Aunt Jeanette celebrated her 90th birthday by throwing herself a party at a quaint, little restaurant in a nearby city.

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After a delicious luncheon meal, Aunt Jeanette unveiled a basket about the size of a large cotton basket. It was filled to overflowing with colorfully wrapped and bowed packages. One for each of us in attendance.

“Oh, Jeanette, it’s your birthday, you shouldn’t have!” we all piped in.

“No,” Aunt Jeanette said, “you shouldn’t have!”

My dear aunt went on to explain that each of the prettily wrapped presents was one she had received, for Christmas or birthdays, that she did not need or even want. She had squirreled them away in the hall or under the bed, just in case she might find a need for them.

At age 90, she had decided the likelihood of her needing or wanting any one of the gifts was not likely. So, she re-wrapped each of the gifts and to gift each of us on her birthday.

We all laughed because Aunt Jeanette was a funny, funny lady.

She passed the gifts around and we took turns opening the gifts that neither Aunt Jeanette nor any of us wanted or needed.

“Oh, Jeanette!” exclaimed Mayretta as she opened her re-gift. “I gave you this!”

“And, I’m giving it back!” Aunt Jeanette said, laughing.

It was a wonderful birthday party and we all went home with the realization that, often times, it’s better not to receive.

But come Black Friday zillions of dollars are spent on good deal items that nobody wants or needs. Me? I stay home and dine on turkey sandwiches and the ambrosia that I hide way back in the Frigidaire just for myself.

Well, except for that Thanksgiving back in the 1960s or so.

A huge department store was opening on the Friday after Thanksgiving in Ozark. Roses.

Why, it was going to be the biggest store of its kind in that part of Alabama. My aunt and grandmother stayed over to go to the grand opening. Every woman in this part of the world was there. They came as far as the Everglades and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The grand opening was big, choking mash of people You couldn’t even see the merchandise let alone touch it.

We just wanted out. Mama said, no way. We would be there until the rapture.

Industrious Aunt Eleanor grabbed an umbrella, poked it out the front of the shopping buggy and that’s how we went out of Roses that day, scattering shoppers this way and that.

So, to Black Friday, I say “Bah, Hum-buggy!