Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving. I’m at work. About half of my coworkers have the day off, some because of travel for Thanksgiving, most because it’s their big shopping day. Hey, good for them. I understand that for a lot of people today is a family tradition, getting up crazy early and trying to get really great deals on stuff for the holidays. I personally don’t enjoy the craziness, but to each their own.

For me, though, Black Friday isn’t about holiday shopping. It’s about remembering my dad, because he died the day after Thanksgiving a few years ago. Since Thanksgiving is on a different date every year, it’s not the actual anniversary, but the whole entire holiday of Thanksgiving will always be linked with his passing.

I try not to get too down about it, but instead try and remember the good times, and the lessons he taught me (both on purpose and accidentaly). First and foremost, he gave me one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received. When I was five or six, I got in trouble in school for plastering the bathroom with wet paper towels. When asked by the teacher why I did it, I said it because the other kids were going it. When dad heard about it that night, he told me that I shouldn’t ever do something just because everyone else was doing it. I should always make my own decisions, I should never just follow. I believe his exact words were “Be an engine, not a caboose”. I never really thought a lot about that consciously growing up, but I wonder if I didn’t always equate being a fierce individual to making my dad happy.

My dad and I had a very complex yet simple relationship. We were/are so very, very similar, and I while I didn’t realize it until after he died, I wonder if he always knew. There was always a strange barrier between the two of us that we were both hesitant to try and connect through. About six months before he died, I remember hanging out with him in his shop for a few hours one afternoon. He had been really sick recently, so I stopped by to say hi and catch up. We talked about nothing in particular….. the weather, crops, my car. It was fun. It felt like I was a little kid again, following him around the shop and asking questions about how things work. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the last time we were together, just father and son.

The last time I talked to my dad was when I stopped by home on the way back to the cities after deer hunting. I hadn’t been hunting in almost 15 years previous to that, and went out with my new in-laws. Talking to my dad for that brief time, I mentioned that I would really like to go out the following year with him, and he thought that was a great idea. The whole way home, I talked to my wife about how going hunting next year with dad would be a great way for us to reconnect, get talking, have some great father-son moments.

Well, he died two weeks later of a heart attack. So it goes.


Here it is again. The day after Thanksgiving. I miss you, Dad.

2 Responses to “Black Friday”

  1. […] best covered the subject here, but today marks the anniversary of my father’s death. Since he died the day after […]

  2. […] Once again, I covered it best here. […]

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