I guess you could say that every Friday has been "black Friday" on this blog. Since I started "Tossing It Out" I have been dealing with darker topics of scary stories, missing persons, and such. It all started because I was primarily blogging about Halloween at the beginning and the scary type stories just seemed natural for the theme I had begun, not because of any darker nature within me. I do like a good scary story or a mystery that makes me wonder.
Today actually is known as "Black Friday". As we kick off the Christmas shopping season, retailers are desperately hoping to edge into the black on the end of the year profit reports. It's been a bad economic year they say and I'm sure this is pretty scary for the retailers and us as well. And the job outlook has also been pretty scary, with no clear indication that in reality it is going to get much better soon. I've been out of work since the first of the year and so far haven't gotten any bites on my job fishing expeditions. Watching the television news yesterday morning, I saw a story showing people who had camped out overnight waiting in line for a free Thanksgiving meal. Guess I've got to be mighty thankful for the good food that my wife and I and our 20 or so extended family members were able to enjoy for Thanksgiving.
Actually the concept of Black Friday is pretty scary to me. Going shopping is scary enough, let alone getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to do it. Remember the guy that got trampled to death by the mobs rushing into the Walmart sale? Frantic shoppers driven mad by bargains is worthy of an absolutely frightening horror movie and that's one movie I don't want to be in.
Thinking about shopping during the Christmas season made me remember an incident that happened when I was very young. It was probably 1955 or 1956, when I was four or five years old. My family lived in Cleveland, Ohio at the time. My parents took my sister, who was a year younger than I, and me with them to the large May Company department store in order for them to place their order for Christmas cards. My father always looked for very specialized cards so he would look through the special order catalogs to find the specific card theme that he wanted.
While they looked through the catalogs, I was told to watch my younger sister. I don't recall what I was looking at, but apparently it wasn't my sister because the next thing I knew my parents were frantic and I had no idea what had happened to her. They both started looking up and down aisles calling her name. There was no answer and still no sister. My father was on the verge of panic, afraid that the worst had happened. Then a store employee directed them to the place where lost children were taken. We found the room and I was so jealous. The room was filled with toys and other children all playing happily, oblivious to the idea that they were lost. There was my sister joyfully at play and having had an adventure that must have been so exciting. Seeing her there made me wish that it had been me who had been lost instead.
Yesterday morning I mentioned this story to my mother and we reminisced about it. She told me about how when she was a teenager she had once gotten lost and had become very afraid. She and her family had recently moved to a new neighborhood in Morgantown, WV. A school organization that she belonged to had a Christmas party at a house that was not too far from where my mother lived. After the party it was dark. My mother began walking home by herself.
She may have been dwelling upon the evening's events and just wasn't paying attention. At the party, the students were to give a gift to another student whose name they had drawn prior to the party. My mother had gotten a very nice give for the one whose name she had. However, the girl that had my mother's name was sick and not there so my mother ended up without a gift. She was upset about this and it preoccupied her thinking. After walking for some distance, she realized that she was not sure where she was. This part of towm consisted of large houses that were close together on hilly streets.One street looked much like the other especially in the dark. She started feeling panicky and very afraid. Her eyes filled with tears as she continued walking, trying to see something that she remembered. Eventually she did find the right street and found her house. The entire incident probably didn't take more than thirty minutes, but she said it was one of the scariest things she ever experienced.
Sometimes we all get irrationally lost in our lives. We might be actually lost in a geographic sense, lost in terms of the path we are taking in our lives, or lost in a spiritual sense. There are many ways that we can feel lost and it often leads to a sense of fear, panic, and despair. But when we are found or we figure out where we are going it's such a relief.
Are you a Black Friday shopper? Have you ever lost someone or been lost? What is your best advice to someone who finds themself lost?