I am a member of the Black Friday Fellowship.
Or maybe it’s the Sisterhood of Silliness.
Whatever it is, it’s tradition. This dark rising to set forth into the land of cold and crowds. Slushing through snow in tennis shoes and unbuttoned jackets. Gloveless.
It always begins with a coffee stop. Sometimes there’s a plan, a mapped-out route based on store openings to purchase a specific sale item.
Like my Dad’s TV. Bought before we realized we forgot to empty the trunk of packed bins, so the TV had to ride on my lap to my folks’ house. Where my sister spent several minutes trying to raise my sleeping father. She could see him in his favorite spot on the living room floor.
“Dad! Let me in. DAD! LET! ME! IN!
Abby and I convulsed in laughter there in the back of the car at 5:30 a.m. Lights came on in the neighborhood, and we expected sirens at any moment.
One year we stuffed the car with brand new bed pillows and had to return home to unload before we could go back out. That must have been the year we heard about dust mites.
Really, though, it’s about fellowship. And about older women acting silly–to the embarassment of their daughters.
Like the time Sissy pretended to get her hand stuck in one of those automatic trash cans.
Or when she and I raced through the store to be the first–pant, pant–at the blue light special.
“Hurry! Run! This way! Which way? THIS way! C’mon, people. Let’s go.”
And the time we were interviewed on the radio. Well, the niece was–when she accidentally dissed her favorite Lions team.
There was the year I tooled around in one of those automatic carts after I had broken my foot. And the year we wound around outside in the cold at ABC Warehouse.
We sold some silly jingle hats for K-Mart this year when we put them on and danced through the store–and then again at checkout.
“Where did you get that?” asked one customer. And went back for her own.
We might fall in line behind the girls and mimic their walk or hide in a clothes rack.
There was the year we started across an icy parking lot while my daughter had gone ahead to start the van.
“Fall!” ordered my sister.
Ever the obedient older one, I dropped to the pavement ice behind the van, and Sissy pounded on the van window.
“Lady, stop! Lady, STOP!”
Yes, there were confused onlookers.
We always plan a trip to Isabella’s, the kitchen store. Where we drool over items and sometimes buy a little thing or two. Or drop hints. And we really enjoy the free sampler breakfast spread. This year they served stuffed blueberry French toast and egg strata and a veggie tray (that included fresh asparagus) and a goat cheese dip with crackers and fresh fruit (grapes and blackberries) and scones.
We parked behind an SUV-type vehicle in front of Isabella’s. Two gals carried boxes from the store to add to the pile already packed in. (We later found out they were transporting items from one store to another.)
“Is that Brandy?” asked my daughter.
“Why, I think so,” said Sissy. “How much will you give me to steal sneak take pretend to lift one of those boxes?”
“A couple dollars. That’s all I have.”
Brandy returned to the store, and my sister hopped out of the car, helped herself to a box (filled with gift packs) and started back about the time the other gal (not Brandy) came out of the store with yet another box.
“What are you doing?”
My usually silver-tongued sister (who I’m not sure had a plan at that point anyway) simply stammered, “Ummm . . . ummm . . . where’s Brandy?”
But the pearl of our Black Friday follies happened at Diana’s, a breakfast stop a couple years ago. The waitress passed by with some kind of stuffed French toast. Our eight eyes followed, and my sister said to my daughter, “I’ll give you five dollars if you ask that lady if you can taste her food.”
“Oh right,” laughed Abby.
“No, really. I’m serious.”
My niece squirmed and slid down in the booth with her Blackberry. She did not look up.
Abby hesitated. She could use the money.
“I’ll double it,” I said. “Ten dollars. Dare you.”
My niece’s chin was on the table now.
Up Abby rose. Halting. Tiptoed to the lady.
“Um, could I have a taste of that?”
Everyone in the full restaurant stared.
Wide-eyed, the lady looked around for the hidden camera. My sister and I turned purple. My niece was under the table.
“No, no. Really. It’s a bet. A joke. Just kidding. I’m sorry.”
The whole restaurant exploded.
And afterwards, the waitress offered us all the leftovers from that table.
Sometimes we live life too seriously.
Yes, I confess.
I am a member of the Black Friday Fellowship.
The Sisterhood of Silliness.
Costly gifts without price tags.