Once upon a pre-Black Friday time

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gather round young ones and let me tell you a tale of times long gone. It may seem a fanciful story, but it is a true one. I know because when I was young like you, I lived in the world of which I speak.

Once there was time before computers, cell phones or any handheld electronic gizmos. It was, some say, a simpler time. Others, who never experienced it, might call it a harder time.

Perhaps they are right because in that long ago, folks could not stand about in the aisles of stores posting endlessly on Facebook. At home, they walked across a room to answer the phone and then stood or sat in one place to have a conversation.

Yes, it is true. There was no such thing as a text, a hashtag, a tweet or an emoticon. Moreover, when we wanted to let someone know something made us laugh, we wrote the words “Laughing Out Loud.”

I know what I describe seems foreign to those of you too young to remember the days before cable television and satellite radio. You may doubt the truth of my story, but there is more to tell you.

In that time before Amazon and iTunes, cash or checks were the most common ways to make a purchase. People did not have 10 credit cards and stores did not entice you to apply for one in order to get a discount.

You laugh and shake your heads, but read on for there is still more.

When people living in this bygone era left their homes to shop with their cash or checks, they drove downtown. And on Monday through Saturday, they strolled along the sidewalks of their hometowns purchasing what they needed from local stores owned by folks they knew by name.

Yes, I said Monday through Saturday. What about Sunday, you ask.

Well, Sunday was a day of rest. Businesses closed, people stayed home and whatever need or desire might arise waited until Monday for fulfillment.

Oh, I see the look of horror on your faces. You wonder how we survived, what we did on Sundays without fast food restaurants or super center shopping. You may even doubt that such a time existed — but it did and we who lived then did not feel we lacked anything.

Now for the part of my story that will surely make you doubt my truthfulness. In this once upon a time, there was no such thing as Black Friday and Christmas commercials did not begin before Halloween.

“NO,” you shout. “It is not possible.”

Oh, ‘tis true. There was a time when family gathered at Thanksgiving to celebrate being together and to count their blessings. They linked hands round the Thanksgiving table without the sound of ESPN commentators speaking in the background.

Then while they enjoyed turkey, not one business required its employees to leave their own celebrations because not one business person dreamed of opening on Thanksgiving Day. And no one expected them to because — well, who would shop on Thanksgiving Day.

So, young ones that is my tale of long ago, believe it or not.

I know change must come to move us forward and I do not wish to dwell in the past. Still, I remember that sweet time when the sun set on our day of thanks and we settled peacefully into a sleep filled with dreams of leftover dressing and pumpkin pie. At midnight, the town’s parking lots were empty and not a person arrived at a store before daylight to wait for its doors to open.

No when the day began on Friday, it was rainy or sunny, but not Black.

It was simply the day after our season of giving thanks when we our thoughts turned toward Christmas, the season of love.