Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday - Part of the American Dream?

In addition to being a "National Day of Listening," today is more commonly known to merchants throughout the U.S. as "Black Friday." Let me tell you that where I live, today was not only "Black Friday," it was a stormy Friday, with lots of cold rain.

My honey left for his part-time job shortly after 7 a.m. to fend off the 8 a.m. shoppers. Actually, today's 8 a.m. opening was a "late" opening, considering that two large, local stores actually opened at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., and their parking lots were full to the max by 9 a.m. I saw on an early morning news show that hundreds of shoppers had "camped out" overnight, wearing heavy jackets, stocking caps, and gloves, outside one of the major "big box" stores that sells electronics. I chose to sleep in.

The thunder, lightning, and rain began early in the morning, but it did not keep me from falling back to sleep for a few extra minutes of "snoozing." It felt good. And it made me thankful that I don't have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and drive 15 miles to the nearest train station to travel 15 more miles, with 13 stops along the way, to get to a tall building in a large and crowded downtown area by 8:30 a.m. Sometimes I can't believe that I made that commute, and several similar ones in different locations, for over 30 years.

Today's shopping adventures by thousands of sale-seekers made me wonder about what our ancestors who lived during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century would have thought about our world's focus on materialism such as that exhibited today. I think it goes without saying they would not believe what happened along the way as we pursued the American dream.

To most of us, myself included, the lives our ancestors lived seemed so difficult and hardship-driven. But their lives, though difficult and without conveniences, were less complicated in some ways that what we know today.

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