Black(hearted) Thursday, traditional 
delights kick off the holiday season

“I miss the good old days when Black Friday was actually on Friday.” — Unknown

Survived ‘em, did you? Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday and, yesterday, Cyber Monday. Not to mention Black(hearted) Thursday, since we’ll now apparently be perpetually saddled with the even earlier start to all the holiday shopping madness, one that finds actually giving thanks with your family on Thanksgiving taking second place to picking up another bargain flat screen or the latest electronic game at the big box store.

It does seem curious, in retrospect, that no one has figured out (yet) how to commercialize the Sunday in there that’s still missing a retail shopping theme.

It seems as if we’d have to invent Christmas for purely commercial purposes if it wasn’t already conveniently on the calendar. Though, with the usual reports of violent encounters over particularly desirable items, we might consider changing the traditional red and green holiday colors to black and blue.

To be fair, the Thanksgiving holiday was not without good cheer.

The Salvation Army fed 700 souls at the Elks Lodge with help from community volunteers and the cooks at Sodexho, food service provider at Colorado Mesa University. With assistance from Canyon View Vineyard Church, another 1,200 Thanksgiving dinners were delivered to shut-ins across the valley. Donations are now being accepted to help fill Christmas food boxes.

Bell ringers and the familiar red kettles are out, signifying the end of spare pocket change for the next few weeks. Three of them already have some of my money, including a slightly larger bill into the kettle in front of Sam’s Club manned by some of my fellow Grand Junction Lions Club members over the weekend.

It’s also one of my favorite times of the year to be a Lion. Next Tuesday we’ll each get a $100 bill to be distributed to needy individuals or causes as part of the Christmastime Random Acts of Kindness. It’s a more personalized effort funded by ticket sales from the annual Lions Club Carnival and raffle every February. 

We’ll be hearing about Toys for Tots and soon the Harley Owners Club will be doing its annual toy run. Area churches have begun Christmas observances.

Blessedly, holidays have always served to bring our extended family together and this Thanksgiving was no exception. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll have to admit to venturing out into the retail madness Friday afternoon, snagging several double-gun cases to better protect the family firearms next hunting season and also a replacement for my leaky, hard-to-start 35-year-old chainsaw. 

And we enjoyed not one, but two traditional Thanksgiving dinners. The first one came Monday night when our son arrived for an early repast, spending his days off at home before heading back to Colorado Springs to report the news on Thanksgiving Day. His mother made certain he had turkey and all the trimmings, including leftovers, to take home.

Thursday, more than a dozen of us gathered down on Main Street for another traditional repast prepared by the two oldest of us, my mother and uncle, and featuring the holiday gathering debut of our newest family member, Olivia.  A couple of us young ‘uns will handle upcoming family gatherings on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we’ll be hard pressed to top the efforts of my mother and uncle, who parlayed eight and nine decades of experience to pull Thanksgiving dinner off admirably.

Out on the left coast, our daughter and son-in-law have created their own ad hoc family of California friends and co-workers in Ocean Beach. Well before Thanksgiving, their acquaintances were asking if Jessica and John were going to recreate the chaotic gathering we attended a year ago. That they did, albeit for a slightly smaller group, handy when your kitchen is about the size of a walk-in closet.

I don’t really mind a little retail therapy around Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I’m thankful every year that our holidays include a reminder of what’s truly important — family, friends, giving a little of yourself in a variety of ways and always remembering the real “reason for the season.”


Jim Spehar is quite certain he’ll be spending the next few weeks cruising for parking spots downtown and at the mall. Your shopping tricks are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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