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Jackie Hope: Talking turkey

By Jackie Hope

It’s coming: the biggest four-day weekend of the year. It’s the motherlode of Mom’s cooking, followed by the big kahuna of shopping, with some good football thrown in between. All riiiight! Thanksgiving and Black Friday! 

Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? It comes before the advent of Advent, when the days are shortening and the lists for Santa are lengthening. It’s not quite Christmas, but it has a feel of anticipation. And we all know that anticipation is three-quarters of the pleasure. Aren’t you eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving dinner?

The Plimoth Plantation’s website,, tells us the Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777. But celebratory harvest feasting harkens to the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans commemorated the Pilgrims’ first harvest in 1621.

Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia have conflicting historical claims for holding the first Thanksgiving celebration. Texas? So was the first pit barbecue held in the early 17th century? Were they eating jalapeno poppers and chipotle chicken? Thanksgiving was celebrated intermittently until the mid-20th century when, in 1941, Congress set Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday in November. Hey, whatever way you slice it, that is a ton of turkey and a pile of pumpkin pies over the past four centuries.

Canada celebrates its own Thanksgiving Day, too, on the second Monday of October. This year, many Canadians were thankful they did not live in Toronto.

Dickinson has its own Thanksgiving feasting tradition. The beauty part of our tradition? Each and every one of you is invited to dinner. Oh yeah! Turkey and dressing, potatoes and gravy, pie and whipped cream, coffee and … and lots of good stuff. Think this sounds too good to be true? For real! Just show up at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Be sure to come hungry. Stuck at home that day? Then call 701-290-7509 to arrange for your meal to be delivered. Call quickly though, because today is the last day to arrange for home delivery. And there is no charge for this lavish spread. How amazing is that?

Know what is even better than eating? Shopping! OK, shopping for things to eat is the best of the best, but plain ol’ shopping for stuff is pretty cool, too.

Black Friday is the queen mother of shopping days. There are off sales, on sales, online sales, on-site sales, and even late-in-the-day slacker sales for people who sleep in. It’s the official opening day of the Christmas gift hunting season, and you can go big-game hunting for things like “Hungry Hungry Hippos,” “Whac-A-Mole” and “Pokemon.”

On Black Friday, stores are up all night, shoppers are up all night and things get a little crazy.

Who remembers the “Light Bulb and TP Affair” at the big-box store years ago? It was one of Dickinson’s first Black Friday 5 a.m. openings, and nearly the whole town turned out for discounted light bulbs and bathroom tissue.

There we all were, squashed into about 3 square yards of floor space near the too-small sale displays because the store managers did not realize all of us were coming. Well of course we all came. We knew a bargain when we saw it.

Unfortunately, most of us never even got a glimpse of those bargains. We saw the tops of each other’s heads, shreds of plastic TP packages on the floor and rolls of Charmin taking flight as people grabbed for them. No one knows if there were actually any light bulbs for cheap that morning. All we could hear was a distant and muffled, “Pop! Pop!” as boxes of bulbs were ripped apart, and the bulbs did a “lights out” onto the floor.

Good times, people!

Not long after, the big box launched another marketing misadventure. They sailed paper plates, with free money coupons attached, from the store’s roof. It does not take an MBA or even a business major to know what happened next.

Have you ever seen a pack of golden retrievers, all after the same Frisbee? Imagine a couple hundred people chasing after a paper plate Frisbee. Some of those people were using their teeth, just like retrievers do. One lady claimed she came away with a broken nose and never did find her glasses. But she got a coupon for a free $5, so hey, it was worth her trouble.

Since then, merchandisers have learned how to manage Black Friday sales, so we all can have a piece of the action — a slice of the pie. How?

Drumstick roll, please: online shopping. Badabing! Shopping bling! There are apps that list stores and leak ads. Heck, there are apps where you make your own lists of deals and compare prices, so you know which store’s site has the cheapest Snuggies and Potato Expresses and Pocket Hoses. Because you can never have enough Pocket Hoses. Plus, they make great gifts for … for people who like to carry hoses in their pockets.

OK, now what are we gonna do this weekend? Eat! And where can we go to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal with others? The Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge! What are we gonna do after we eat ourselves full? Watch football until we fall asleep! Shop ‘til we drop! Order Pocket Hoses online! Livin’ “la vida loca,” baby!

Hope is a humor columnist for The Dickinson Press and The Drill. She writes about everyday life, living in the Oil Patch and Twinkies.