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Frank Gray

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Turkey ’n’ shopping? I’ll just skip the plate

It’s Thursday morning, but only a day or so ago, I still didn’t have the faintest idea what we were going to do for Thanksgiving dinner.

All I knew for sure is that we wouldn’t have turkey.

Turkeys are easy to cook (apply garlic salt, apply heat), but they take forever to thaw, and once they are cooked, they are hard to carve. I read somewhere that in order to be a true man, you should know how to carve a turkey. I’m lousy at it. Reach your own conclusions.

Plus, turkeys are dry. That’s why you have to eat cranberry sauce with them. And when you’re done with dinner, you have to empty half the refrigerator to make room for what’s left of the carcass.

Whatever we have for Thanksgiving dinner, it will be a little unconventional. Maybe a small ham. Ham is always good.

We’ve tried Cornish game hens over the years. They’re easy to cook (apply garlic salt, apply heat), and we eat the usual vegetables.

We’ve had steaks for Thanksgiving in the past. I’ve pondered smoking a good roast, though that’s never gotten past the idea stage.

And from time to time, we’ve just thrown up our hands and found a restaurant that serves Thanksgiving dinner. That’s my favorite; eating something that someone else cooked.

This year, though, it’s entered my mind that maybe we should just throw up our hands and forget about Thanksgiving dinner altogether.

That’s because Black Friday has been moved to Black Thursday. The holiday, as far as business is concerned, has been relegated to the status of Columbus Day: Government offices and banks are closed, but when it comes to shopping, businesses all over will be open.

Some will be open all day. Some will close for three hours in the afternoon, supposedly so employees can eat Thanksgiving dinner. Some will wait until evening to open and then stay open all night.

All so people can get a jump on their shopping.

Time was, Thanksgiving was a painful time. Everything was closed. There was nothing to do in the morning. In the afternoon, you had dinner, and in the evening, once again, there was nothing to do. It was boring. But it was also a sort of enforced period of relaxation.

No more. People will be trying to gobble up bargains before the evening news is over, and some will be out again before dawn, looking for more bargains.

I don’t know whether I’ll cook on Thanksgiving, but I know I won’t be shopping. I can’t think of anything I want or need bad enough to battle crazed crowds or alter the Thanksgiving image in my mind into a free-for-all. I’ll be able to find anything I want at a comparable price in the month before Christmas.

As for Friday morning, Black Friday, maybe I’ll get up early and try to get a peek at Comet ISON. Maybe it’ll break up while I’m watching. That would be a show worth getting up early to see.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.