This article first appeared in the Platte County Landmark on November 27, 2013.  Happy Thanksgiving

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but I love food. And, by extension, I love Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing. I even like the idea behind yams, even though I don’t eat them. Thanksgiving gives me an opportunity to still be thankful for yams. What a wonderful time.

Thanksgiving means twelve straight hours of eating until you need to put on sweatpants – and then finish off the pie.  Oh, and there’s ten straight hours of football, too. What an American holiday.  It’s the perfect holiday to even allow a little family drama or arguments. Who cares what Uncle Larry wants to argue with Aunt Esther about. You’ve got football on in the other room.

The latest crisis, however, has nothing to do with pie or the Detroit Lions or even dear, sweet Aunt Esther and her slightly racist jokes.  No, this crisis is an enemy to us all.  Corporate America.  Corporate America wants to take away mashed potatoes and stuffing and sweat pants and Uncle Larry’s dentures slipping when he bites into the green bean casserole. Corporate America wants to make Thanksgiving a day that Americans shop bargains at Wal-Mart and Target and Kohls. Corporate America wants to destroy Thanksgiving.

Forget Black Friday – which used to mean stores opening at 6:00 AM on Friday morning, allowing early birds to get some deals, but those of us nursing honey baked ham babies to sleep in.  It started slowly, in the shadow of 9/11, for America. Stores said they needed a few more hours of retail volume, so they started opening at 4:00 AM, then 2:00 AM and then Midnight.  Mothers and daughters – looking to make sure they got a deal on that precious doorbuster nightgown for 30% off – willingly adjusted their schedules.  Men began to wait in line starting hours before midnight outside the Best Buys in the hope they could get $100 off on that 50” plasma television.

So, much like the tryptophan coma that slowly paralyzes you following a third plateful of turkey, Corporate America continues to seep across the time barrier and now, into Thanksgiving.  Stores like K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sears and even OfficeMax have all announced they will open some portion of Thanksgiving night.  OfficeMax? Really? In case you really need a ream of paper to watch the Dallas Cowboys or fart in your Grandpa’s vinyl covered couch?

Many have expressed outrage on Facebook and social media, but not enough to stop the slow crawl which could ultimately destroy Thanksgiving.  What if Thanksgiving just becomes “Black Thursday”? (And no, I’m not referring to that joke Aunt Esther tells all the time.) Where people eat turkey breakfast and then head out to the stores, which now open at noon? It’s coming people.

Corporate America wants to take away your Thanksgiving and replace it with economics.  On whatever grounds you can stand on – whether they be something sappy like spending time with family, or something selfish like making sure you have that Friday leftover turkey sandwich that your grandmother can only make – the one with the Wonder bread.  We must put a stop to it.

Corporate America, leave my Thanksgiving alone.  Well, you can take the yams.  But leave the rest alone.

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