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Black Friday: A Family Affair
By Rachel Oberfoell
While many look forward to food, family time, and football games on Thanksgiving Day, the real festivities for the Oberfoell clan begins the day after, with the pinnacle of consumerism: Black Friday.
Following a long afternoon of stuffing ourselves full of perfectly roasted turkey, fluffy mashed potatoes and my Aunt Angie’s famous butterscotch pudding, all women present above the age of 10 pack into my grandparent’s living room to begin planning our strategy for the following morning.
As the tryptophan begins to set in, we reach for the shopping ads from the local newspaper, scanning for the best deals and discounts. We curate Christmas lists and chat about how long the lines will be.
Right in the thick of these deliberations is my Grandpa Pete, the unexpected pioneer of this treasured tradition. A lifelong fisherman and hunter, he looked forward to the occasion most of all. Grandfather to 25, Black Friday is a day for him and his granddaughters.
At 5 a.m. sharp on Friday morning, our convoy of vehicles whisks through the freezing eastern Iowa weather to arrive at the starting point of our shopping expedition, the mecca of sales: Target.
We scramble through the aisles, filling our carts to the brim before treating ourselves to an overpriced Starbucks coffee on our way out the door.
Next stop is the mall, where we continue our spree until the clock strikes 10:30 a.m., signaling us to depart for the conclusion of our trip: lunch at Culver’s.
Laden with bags, our group of about 15 piles into the fast-food restaurant, ordering burgers and cheese curds at a much too early time while Grandpa Pete has each of us recount the spoils of our trip.
After he insists on paying for the meal, we return to the house to say our goodbyes and until-next-times as our family scatters to their various corners of the midwest.
Now a decorated veteran of the Oberfoell Black Friday escapade, I reflect back on these trips fondly and with a slight twinge of sadness. My grandpa passed away three years ago and we have continued the tradition, but each subsequent trip brings back a wave of nostalgia for times and people gone by.
While our annual trip has been placed on hold this year (thanks COVID-19), Black Friday will always be a day for my Grandpa Pete and a good discount deal.
Here’s to my first Cyber Monday.