Saturday, November 11, 2006


The excitement's building as Thanksgiving approaches. The whole family is coming down for turkey, pumpkin pie, parades and comraderie, and of course the main reason: Black Friday! Got to get down to the stores super early to get those "things that make the season bright." We're usually well represented, some years camping out three or four together plus an extra curious friend or two in front of Best Buy all night. The best spots are already lined up by midnight. South Florida techie shoppers are an intrepid bunch and hard to beat to the bargains. My fam takes naps Thanksgiving evening before rising for the all-night annual vigil.

Then when the doors finally open about five or six am, everybody races through the stores grabbing whatever's close, as they head for those special items on their list they read about in the ads for a week. It's an amazing race worthy of reality tv.

By ten or eleven in the morning, it's all over. The gang drags in, smug from their bounteous booty secured in their car trunks, and crashes into their beds or just sprawls out on couches and floors for a catchup nap, exhausted from the vigil of the past twelve to sixteen hours and the hell-bent-for-bargains shopping melee of packed stores. The goal is to make it to all four nearby megacenters: Best Buy, CompUSA and Circuit City across the street, and maybe even BrandsMart around the corner at the Sawgrass Mall. We have begun a push in ernest here in South Florida to create the biggest, best megacenter shopping mecca in the world in Sunrise, and the huge, sprawling Sawgrass Mills Mall is already world-famous. They're even building twenty-story condo's that overlook it, as if it's the gem of all views, with prices modestly starting in the mid-half-millions. Don't want to miss those bargains, nosirree.

Christmas shopping? Well, I guess the Black Friday gold rush is the beginning of the total mayhem that then continues all over our region till Christmas Day. Maybe it's just our way of playing a warped adult musical chairs. If you don't hustle, you don't get the prizes--or even a place to park. Kind of makes online shopping more appealing each year, as our cars stay in the only guaranteed parking spots left south of Disney World: our own driveways.

But I'm still looking forward to it, all of it. The arrivals, the festivities, food, parades and games, shopping, running around, and finally by Sunday afternoon putting up the Christmas tree and outside lights while the kids are still here to enjoy it. Thanksgiving, this Thanksgiving, is probably the only time we'll all be together for a year. By Christmas we all scatter and have our exchanges in several cities. But there's something special about having the whole family together at our house, even if it's only for a few days or hours. Something I'm really thankful for.