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OK, we lived through Thanksgiving. (If you are reading this column I really have to assume that.)

We ate until we darn near popped, we shopped until we darn near dropped. Some of us did anyway. Contrary to even my own expectations I did go out on Black Friday. Usually I am absolutely craven and hide at home for the whole day.

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I went to TSC in Mount Airy and bought two of their quite reasonably priced radiator-type heaters. As I was leaving their busy parking lot I caught the eye of a lady who was walking to the store with her husband and said, "Wow! Black Friday and we're all at the feed store!" and they laughed with me. But I did see folks who were stocking up on baled shavings. That brought back memories.

There is nothing that makes a horse person feel better than having a loft full of hay and a spare stall filled with bales of shavings. You are usually much poorer financially by the time that you achieve that condition but it makes you feel complete, secure and — somehow — more contented knowing that your horses are taken care of, no matter what you will have to forego to make it to payday.

That was my big Black Friday deal — two heaters. I did peer into the parking lots that I passed on my way to Mount Airy and it was, well, frightening to see all of those folks and their cars careening around the stores, lots and entries and exits from the shopping centers. I was sure glad that it wasn't me in that melee. Leave it to the battle-scarred veterans … most of whom are female, come to think of it.

I did go down to the Goshen Hounds kennels to see if I was too late to catch the beginning of Junior Hunt Day. I was too late for the start but a nice man sent me off onto a small dirt road to see if I could catch them all. And catch them I did, just down that road and around a bend … the whole group with lots outriders keeping track of the younger riders. They were all mounted and getting a lecture about what to expect and how to act. And then they were off and trotting along a long field, all strung out and looking very excited about their new adventure. I got a lot of great photos of what was happening.

On the way home I thought that I would stop at my favorite grocery store to see if I could get the truck wedged into that parking lot. Lo and behold, wonder of wonders, the grocery store was veritably deserted. You could have put the Macy's parade in there and had room left over for a couple of tailgaters. Whee!

I drive a big old Chevy 4WD in the cab and a half size with a big cap over the bed and it is not easy to get that into a crowded parking area with lots of little cars that seem to zip around under your bumpers at will. I have good-sized mirrors and even the little corner mirror thingies but the drivers of little cars do not understand that they can become invisible at certain places around a big truck — especially when they insist on jamming themselves right behind the truck's tailgate. I have this nightmare that one day I will be sitting in the driver's seat and hear muted shouting only to realize that it is coming from the mini-whatever that is directly underneath my engine compartment.

Of course the upside of driving a larger than usual vehicle is that, if push does indeed come to shove, you are likely to be less shoved than those in teensy-tiny vehicles. Put another way, if something crumples it is not likely to be you. The other thing is that if you are driving a small car and you realize that you are in contention with a vehicle almost twice as big as the one that you are driving it behooves you to take a bit more care about creating a situation that may entail damages to the vehicles. Or the people in them, as far as that goes.

This is the last Sunday that I will get to tell readers that they really need to go to the Old Fashioned Christmas Horse and Mule Parade in Lisbon on Saturday the 13th of December at 11 a.m. It goes right down Md. 144 which is Lisbon's Main Street. I know I said it last week but then there was Thanksgiving and Black Friday and all of that. So I am saying it again. You can go to http://www.lisbonchristmashorseparade.org/ for information.

Just go early and get a good parking spot!

Hope Holland is the Times' equestrian writer. Her column appears every Sunday. Reach her at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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