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I have only once in my life attended a Black Friday sale and that was at one of the major hardware stores so I could get the Dremel tool set that they were advertising. We all have our tacky secrets and mine is that I am a sucker for all things Dremel. I wouldn't have gone out at 0-dark thirty on a morning in late November that couldn't make up its mind it if was going to be simply foggy or foggy plus icy for anything less than Dremel tools.
The nice thing about going to one of the huge hardware stores on Black Friday is that many of its normal denizens have gone deer hunting. At the time I wondered why I could park near the store and I wondered why I could actually get in the door and find a cart. Then I wondered why there was such a preponderance of females to males present in that kind of a store. Finally it dawned on me that Black Friday was also deer season.
Of course now we also have shopping on Thanksgiving itself. So what is this now? Black Friday preceded by a new holiday called Dark Gray Thursday instead of Thanksgiving? In the future will the turkey turn into a Mickey D drive through turkey roll sandwich with bread made from stuffing flavored wheat and coffee imbued with sweet potato flavoring? Are we actually the last generation that will remember sit-down dinners on Thanksgiving complete with crying babies, toddlers throwing tantrums and other things at the table and Uncle Ralph who has to be guarded from getting into any kind of sauce other than the cranberry kind so he doesn't go to sleep at the table with his face in the mashed potatoes?
Then there is Cyber Monday and I do intend to shop on Cyber Monday, my friends. If your mind can encompass this image without starting to singe around the edges think of me with a cup of coffee at my elbow, my fuzzy slippers on my feet and the woolly blankie over my lap under the laptop computer. Whee! Now THAT'S shopping. Even the cat can attend a shopping trip of that sort.
But every year I do go out to the Black Friday rush. I get a cup of coffee and a drive-through doughnut, I turn up the heat in the truck and roll down the windows so I can hear what's going on and I park near the largest store that I can find and watch all the people freezing in line. I don't know if that makes me some kind of voyeur but I love those moments. When the folks in the store get their courage up and fling open the doors and the crowd surges into the warm stores to run for those bargains I feel good for them. I wait long enough to see some of the people coming out triumphantly pushing carts with large boxes of goodies and then I go home, fulfilled, to watch the Thanksgiving parades with the sound turned off to avoid the inane commentaries.
I get to see marching bands of more or less chilly kids depending on the weather and pretty horses proudly bearing people in fancy outfits all of whom look like they feel just as out of place as they actually are. I try not to look at the blown up air toys that are threatening to deflate or escape entirely from their handlers.
We have a parade coming up ourselves. The Lisbon Ole Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade will be held on Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. I have been there for two years and I can tell you that you better get there early if you want to be able to park within walking distance.
This parade just keeps getting bigger and bigger and better and better.
There are horses, ponies, mini mules and big draft mules and every size in between. There are handsome teams to wagons that are huge, wonderfully decorated and well-driven and there are riders and walkers leading little bitty ponies that are costumed for the occasion.
It is local, it is homemade and it is fun. It embodies the true spirit of a country Christmas and it is something that is free, friendly and filled with happy people who will make you smile to watch them.
What more can you ask from an occasion than that? The proceeds benefit the Howard County and Carroll County Food Banks, that's what.
You can check it out on line with full parade route listing and pictures from last year at http://www.lisbonhorseparade.com/index.php so "pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone go"...just like the song says. This old lady will already be there, for sure.

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