Once upon a time in Texas, there was a girl with an appetite and a dream...


Black Friday

As most of you are aware, yesterday was Thanksgiving. But only in America. Which is exactly why I had to talk to my family on the phone while they celebrated, and I rode a ferry from Naples to Ischia.

As I spoke with various family members, I reminded them that if I were there, we would be drinking prosecco with our stolen, pre-meal bites of fried turkey. I would have been in the kitchen for a week with mom planning, grocery shopping, and messing up the place. If I were there, I would have joined my dad and uncle briefly in the backyard while they hovered over gallons of boiling peanut oil, excited as 10 year-old boys. If I were there, I would have been hugging my niece and nephew and touching my sister's pregnant belly. I would have eaten like a pig, then retired to an available horizontal space to watch a movie with everybody.

My aunt reminded me that if I were there, I would be going shopping the next day with them. She reminded me that I had written an email exactly one year ago about this female ritual, and since I haven't written in a week, I'll share it with you.

November 25, 2005

I was suckered into this by the women in my family.

I have successfully avoided the the pleas with keeping the "day-after-Thanksgiving" tradition for roughly 10 years. Every year my aunt says to me, "But we always go shopping the day after Thanksgiving." It's just that we, usually does not include me. I cannot be subject to the hoards of wild-eyed women who have been to the 5-o-clock "door buster" sales at Wal-Mart and Target--they have usually stopped only to refuel with some caffeinated beverage because CHRISTMAS MUST BE BOUGHT! I always picture it like a marathon, as the shoppers whiz by laden with bags, someone is there holding out a diet coke which is quickly grabbed, slammed, empty cup falling to the ground in slow motion as the theme song from "Chariots of Fire" plays in the background.

I remember the good ol' days when this day was fun. We (Mom, aunts, sister, female cousins) would pile into the minivan at dawn and head to Houston for a fun-filled shopping day. There were people, but it was more like a Saturday at the mall than a crowded hurricane shelter. I would start complaining of mortal hunger around 10:30 and we would go to some restaurant around noon (not surprisingly, my favorite part). My mom would grow weary of my constant badgering. I wanted everything, like a good nine-year-old should, and she refused. Bless her heart. Yes, these were the days before this Friday after Thanksgiving had the name "Black Friday." After 9 solid hours of shopping, I would get bored, tired, hungry again, and would be ready to go home.

Now it's different. It has turned into a frenzy of epic proportions. One must arrive at 5 in the morning to get the sales. People are camped out in line at the mall entrance waiting to be first. Mothers, daughters, and aunts all starting new traditions.

Not me, no sir-ee.

Maybe just this one time. I have succumbed to the voices speaking to my ego and need to be loved, "Please come Tracie. We want you to be there! Our day is brighter whenever you are near!" Well, I made up that last one, but it'll get me through the day. Besides, I love my womenfolk. I miss them when I'm across the world. Anyway, what's wrong with a little sacrifice, right? I don't even go to the mall on any old Saturday because it's too crowded, but I will today. Hopefully, we will all survive, heavy with bags, diet coke on our faces, and happy to be together

Happy Friday,
Saint Tracie


That was last year, and I was in Texas all of November and December. I won't be so fortunate this year, but if I were, I would be right there with them, enjoying every moment.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know just how you feel. Living in Italy is wonderful, but being here during American holidays are tough. For me, Thanksgiving is the hardest holiday of them all (I spent most of Wednesday with tears in my eyes...I was too busy cooking on Thursday to cry).

What I have tried to do is to make new traditions here. What is great is that all of my Italian friends have really embraced being part of my American holidays. We had turkey with all of the other good stuff and though it wasnt as good as being home with my family, it helped.

Next year head north for the Holidays and spend Thanksgiving with us! It would be great to have another Ameircan at dinner with us!

ps. Happy Thanksgiving!

11/24/2006 1:37 PM

Blogger Sicilian said...

Tracie. . . . I did it. . . in Colorado. . . . 4:15 a.m up and out the door. . . for what I did not know . . . . my girls. . . . my 2 brothers. . . . yes the males in this Italian family want the deals too. . . . by 9:00 a.m.. . . . the girls and I were dragging. . . we stayed in the car at Lowes. . . . ok we slept in the car at Lowes. . . we netted a bunch of blankets. . . . which won't get on the plane. . . my oldest will bring those with her when she comes to Texas next month. . . . a magic bullet. . . my gift from my oldest. . . . the boys well they were worse than us. . . . they had griddle each. . . some electronic stuff. . .ahhhhhhhhhh it will probably be my last crunch and shove event . . . . my girls will rarely be home together. . . .
Happy Belated Thanksgiving Tracie. . . . and if you don't know it. . . . I just love both your parents.

11/24/2006 4:44 PM

Anonymous J.Doe said...

The stores might open at 5 AM, but I heard that people line up before then for the doors to open. While I really like the tradition of Thanksgiving, this is one I could do without.

11/24/2006 7:20 PM

Anonymous Jane said...

Yes Tra you would have been right there in the car going along. Not only did we go shopping today, we just got home from Houston where the football team lost a heartbreaking game 31-23 and the fog was horrendous coming home. Oh well time to go to sleep and dream of shopping with my Tra.

11/25/2006 2:11 AM

Anonymous David said...

I guess since the only thing we have to do here in the States is shop and go to the Cinema this could be considered a tradition...

I just do not get it, never have, and doubt I ever will. I would much prefer passing time in the kitchen with my family cooking something interesting, tasting some good wine, and perhaps talking about family.

While in Italy I maintained my holiday meals, my kids loved them and, like Cynthia, our friends really enjoyed them. Sure I missed the gatherings in family from my youth but that probably has more to do with growing up than being in Italy.

11/25/2006 9:27 AM

Anonymous lena said...

Poor Tracie - I know you really miss Texas right now! Texas misses you, too, dear.

Now that I work retail :( I have a new dislike for Black Friday. It was a real drag and I missed our family's last TG in Barksdale. So it could be worse than being stuck in Ischia, love - you could have been stuck working at Nordstrom.

Poor me and you!

11/25/2006 6:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI tracie, this is manuela.I don't know if yhou rembemre the message I left few months ago. Sorry for not beeing in touch for so long, but I've had a few problems with the internet at home. Hope u are ok, R u stilli in ISchia isn't it? If you come to naples let me know...

PS: I know I am late but...HAPPY BDAY

11/26/2006 6:17 AM

Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I love Thanksgiving but people fighting at the stores at 6:00 a.m. is bananas.

Tracie you would have shocked if you watched the news. People lost their minds. Some places sold out within minutes of flat screen tvs, Tickle Me Elmos (I was going to get on for my nephew but I knew my brother would kill me. The toy is cute but I'm sure after 10 minutes that laugh would get on your nerves) and Playstations.

I'm so glad I finished my holiday shopping two weeks ago. I do need to buy wrapping/tissue paper and not looking forward to going to Target. It is going to be packed

11/27/2006 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Tracie! I'm sure the malls in Houston missed you terribly!


11/27/2006 4:31 PM

Blogger Kris said...

Black Friday has been a cherished tradition in my family for ever. LOVE IT. And now with the addition of Cyber Mondays, I'm having a shop-a-holic's dream.

Oh and YAY at fried turkey. I didn't know that people did that out of the south. It alone made me go up a dress size.


11/28/2006 9:36 AM

Blogger Frank said...

Hello Tracie,

wow!! This was a hell of a post and I guess I should stuck to the Thanksgiving theme, however, I forgot to come stop by the site when I should have, since you are Texan and many of your readers are I just want to express my sadness about the fact that Kinky Friedman has not become the new governor of the state, he would have been great, even greater than Sam Houston, I think.


11/29/2006 10:40 AM

Blogger kigogal said...

I always go to a small town for Thanksgiving and so the only place to shop on Friday is the Ace Hardware, a Bi-Mart, or the gift shop owned by my sweetie's mom. It's great. No crowds, cause all the locals have driven to the city to go to Walmart or some other Godforsaken shopping stink hole.

My future sisters in law do it, though, and they actually love it! I think one of them even found a store that opened at 3am and guess what? She was at it!!!!!!

11/29/2006 10:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I do not shop in a mall, ever. Holiday season or no. I rarely venture into a B&M store anyway.

I dream of the day when everything, every single last thing, is available online. I did all our holiday shopping in half an hour, with my husband, as we sat our asses on the couch and decided which - of all the billions of books available on Amazon - should be gifted to all of the recipients on our gift list. Then went over to the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservatory and made a good sized donation to add as an additional gift to our giftees.


No interaction with pasty whalewomen hauling one hundred shopping bags and three screaming kids.

No migraine from navigating sweaty malls.

No wasted gas from circling parking garages.

Just pure, drunken, Mac clicking bliss from the comfort of my couch.

Black Friday/CyberMonday/E-Day - they can all bite me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/30/2006 7:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12/02/2006 11:47 AM

Blogger Eduardo said...

I refuse to shop prior to December 15 on principle.

The principle is that I am lazy.

12/03/2006 1:39 AM


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