Same time next year

Thanksgiving morning everyone was home. This was a little odd, since it is hunting season, but the most grizzled hunter of us chose to plow through the morning paper instead. More curious, he took a few minutes to pull out sales flyers.

This usually is the domain of our youngest, an eighth grade girl. She LOVES sales flyers. She will read them even though she often has little money of her own and even less often will set foot in these stores, since I am not a recreational shopper. My feeling is more, “You need shoes? Where do we need to get them from?” And we go to that store, and we find and try on the shoes, and if they are suitable we pay for them and leave. We don’t wander around other stores in the mall, or even look for other things to buy in the same store. To me, shopping is a means to an end, not entertainment, and I understand she feels differently, which is why a few times a year I bite the bullet and spend an afternoon window shopping with her. She also is a fabulous peruser of online stores, which she also can’t afford, but if she ever does land a windfall I promise she can decide very quickly how to spend it.

Her dad shops much more like me, and goes to stores even more rarely, so the Black Friday flyer thing was uncharacteristic. Then I saw which flyers he had pulled – or rather heard, since he began reading items to me.

A camera caught his eye, and he asked about megapixels. My daughter has a perfectly fine camera she has lent him on occasion, mind you. Then he went on, and it seemed these were the kinds of cameras one mounts in the woods to photograph passing wildlife. I made a noncommittal noise and a mental note for a Christmas list.

There were coats, too. Why, they were only $50, marked down from much more. “We have tons of coats,” I pointed out. And we just had had the discussion about why our daughter owns no winter coat, which is because she only wears one about 10 times a winter, and for that, she can wear one of the dozen or more we have around. So much simpler now that she can wear adult sizes.

Fine; no coats. Then he mentioned boots.

I managed not to scream. For one, he just bought a pair of boots before rifle season opened, because none of the 15 or so pair of boots around was quite what he needed, and these were half off and would last forever. For another, do you think he WORE those boots on opening day? Of course not. I trudged behind him, half a mile back to our stands, wondering where the new boots were.

Boots to my husband are what black shoes are to most women. And I am the stunned spouse, shaking my head and muttering that they all look exactly the same.

I am not – obviously, because I’m typing – partaking in Black Friday. A couple of hours from now, I’ll be in the MDN newsroom. But since I got up to see off the great hunter and possibly the younger one (who decided he would rather sleep in and probably will spend the day practicing guitar), I became awake enough that going back to bed would be pointless. That called for a cappuccino run to the corner Sleven, where I saw two of the four cup sizes wiped out and absolutely no coffee on. “I’ll have regular coffee in just a minute,” the lone guy in sight said, and I assured him it wasn’t an issue. He blustered about restocking, and said he would be calling his manager later to say don’t ever have only one person on Black Friday morning again, because at 4:45 a.m. he already had gone through 70 pots of coffee.

Wow, I said, glad I had missed it. I’m also glad to be missing the lines and crowds I know are snaking and shoving through area stores right now.

My reprieve ends in 366 days, though. My lovely daughter asked on the way home from the family dinner last night if maybe we could go shopping on The Day next year. Already thought of that, I said; I put in the vacation request earlier this week.

I’m already wondering what I was thinking when I said yes; I’m sure she’s already looking forward to it.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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