The Holiday Shuffle
A Father and son walked out of the corner store and head towards the busy downtown shopping district. As the pedestrian sign flashed
in bright red letters. The pair stopped to wait for the sign to change. The Father takes his sons hand in his and looked down at him and smiled.
The son looked up at his Father, smiled back and anxiously said,
“Daddy, are we going to do Black Friday?”
“Is that what today is? Hmmm…I hadn’t thought about it….”
“Awww. Come on. It’s always the Friday before Christmas. How could you not think about it? I have been thinking about it since…like…..last year!”
“Let’s get to steppin’ champ. We got a lot of ground to cover.”
“K, Dad…we got to move it move it.”
The Father shakes his head and grins as they travel across the street. After getting back onto the sidewalk, he lifts his son up from behind and places him on his shoulders.
“I don’t want to lose you in the crowds, so up top you go.” The Father states.
“Birds eye view Caw Caw” the child replies with a giggle.
It is late in the afternoon and still throngs of people are pushing and shoving to get in and out of the downtown department stores.
The Father looks up at his son and asks,
“You want to go into the sports or toy store to look around? Christmas is coming you know….”
“Nah…too crowded. Maybe some other time…….People are using more bad words than they did last year…aren’t they supposed to be happy? I mean jeez Santa’s listening….he’s got spies you know.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I can’t cover your ears and make my way through at the same time. We will be home soon.”
The son starts bouncing up and down on his Father’s shoulders and chanting,
“Black Friday Black Friday Today is the day it’s Black Friday!”
(Random shoppers and pedestrians look at he child like he is a loon while thinking- Black Friday was weeks ago, it was a disaster. What the hell is he so happy about?)
“Settle down, Cochise. We’re going, we’re going.”
It takes them :45 minutes to get to the other side of the shopping district. The Father lets out a sigh of relief. They made it through the crowd without too much of a struggle. For the final 5 blocks to their small apartment he takes his son off his shoulders to walk the rest of the way.
They walk inside the door to the apartment building and make their way up the steps to their second floor, 1 bedroom home.
The Father places the key in the lock and turns it to open the door. The son anxiously blurts out,
“Is it time….can I get it set up?”
The Father opens the door and says,
“Yeah, it’s time. Go do your thing, call me when you are ready.”
The son scurries past his Father and darts into the kitchen area and begins moving things around. After about 10 minutes he shouts,
“I’M READY, DAD!”
And turns out the lights.
From the darkness of the hallway, the Father emerges with one lit candle lighting the way. He places it in the center of the garage sale bought kitchen table and sits down on one of the metal fold out chairs. His son sits across from him, propped up on his elbows on one of the other metal chairs…..grinning ear to ear.
“Can I deal to make sure you don’t cheat?”
“You calling me a cheater?….yes you can deal.” The Father replies as he passes the deck of brand new cards, which he bought at the corner store, over to his son.
The son does his best shuffle (which strangely resembles 52 card pickup), and then deals 7 cards to each to his Father and himself.
He picks up his cards, makes his best poker face in the candlelight, and looks at his Father and says,
“You got any 3’s?”
The Father squints and makes his best mean look and replies,
“Go fish, partner.”
Before he fetches cards from the deck, the son looks at his Father and plainly says,
“Thanks Dad. Black Friday is the best day of the year.”
To me, it’s about the gift OF family and the joy of being together.
It’s not about the gifts FOR family.
Clothes fade and wear out.
Electronics get dusty.
Batteries are almost never included.
But something as simple as a game of “go fish” by candlelight, is a gift that creates memories that last well beyond the sales from Black Friday to the day of Santa.
Make your own “go fish” holiday tradition this year.
All that is needed is an imagination, and a sincere willingness to spend TIME with the ones who mean the most to you.
Batteries not necessary.