Column: I was dreaming of a Black (and blue) Friday

Marianne Hale

As I stood in a Walmart in Ashland, just moments before midnight marked the start of Black Friday last week, I thought, “So, this is how it ends for me.”

Surrounded by ravenous, cart-wielding shoppers hungry for $3 slow-cookers and $4 Barbie dolls, I knew I was a goner.

I was bound to get knocked over and trampled to death as my fellow shoppers pushed and shoved their way to inexpensive merchandise all in the name of Christmas.

This year was my first Black Friday, and I participated in the event as a spectator more than anything else.

I accompanied one of my very best friends and his mother, an experienced Black Friday shopper, to the occasion.

We decided to divide and conquer to take advantage of as many deals a possible. I was assigned the task of nabbing the $4 Barbie dolls and marked-down copies of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.”

I got the Barbie dolls and the DVDs, and all I needed to mark off my list was a Black Friday fist fight. To be honest, I was dreaming of a black-and-blue Friday.

It’s not that I’m particularly into violence or anything like that. I just wanted to experience as much of a stereotypical Black Friday as I could, and from what TV news tells me, fist fights are a part of the package.

We hit up a couple of other department stores, starting at 4 a.m.

They weren’t nearly as crowded or intense as the scene in Walmart, but there was still Black Friday fun to be had.

Being awake at 4 a.m. means you can take advantage of McDonald’s breakfast immediately after the restaurant begins serving it, and there’s little that I love more than a good opportunity to clog my arteries with greasy breakfast sandwiches.

Then my friend and I scored a couple of snow globes, free gifts provided by J.C. Penney.

Delirious from the lack of sleep, we celebrated by dancing in the mall parking lot, inspiring at least one other shopper to bust a move. It was like “Black Friday: The Musical.”

We finally got to bed at about 7 a.m., and I never got my fist fight or actually purchased a single item  – unless you count that McDonald’s breakfast.

But what I took away from Black Friday was more important than a $3 slow-cooker or even the opportunity to see shoppers fight over this year’s hot new toys. (Yes, this is one of those moral-of-the-story kind of deals.)

I took away great memories with one of my oldest and greatest friends. So, now when I think of Black Friday, good deals and fist fights won’t be the only things that come to mind.

I’ll also remember hiding out in Walmart aisles watching chaos unfold and dancing through our sleep-deprivation-induced delirium.

The important thing to remember here is that Christmas shopping, holiday parties and all the other fanfare of the holiday season are special because you get to share them with your loved ones.

So, don’t just go through the motions this holiday season. Savor every last holiday moment.

And let me know if you see any fist fights. Hey, you never know what’s going to happen when you mix a lot of family members with a little eggnog.