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Moss column: Hurry up and chew. Black Friday is here!

There is plenty to be thankful for this week, as long as we don't start outside.

As I write this, forecasters called for a harrowing week of travel, with a very good chance of an ice coating, then heavy rain, then snow again on the day before Thanksgiving, then cold but clear weather.
Cold and clear is OK. That means a wood fire in the fireplace and a kitchen warmed by the oven's long duty roasting the turkey. I'll stay inside, thank you, giving thanks, before I'll venture out to the mall.
And I am talking about Thanksgiving Day now.
Remember a few years ago when talk radio and Fox got hysterical about "the war on Christmas." I guess Christmas won because it's still here. In fact, the Christmas of Santa Claus and Black Friday is bigger than ever.
I went to Belk at 5:30 a.m. a couple of Saturdays ago to win a $1,000 gift card and only came up $995 short. When I was there, the manager let everyone in out of the cold to wait for our $1,000 gift cards. He told the ladies and me that he guessed he'd see us again on Thanksgiving Day. He blamed it on Macy's, which he said had announced the Thanksgiving night opening and forced other department stores and who knows what else to open on the day once reserved for pumpkin pie, family fellowship and the Detroit Lions.
Might as well open the bars, too, as far I'm concerned. I'd sooner go to one than fight the crowds on Thanksgiving Day for the discounted kitchen appliances, fleecies and wearable blankets. Fewer crying babies.

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Here is something to look forward to.
Friday we should see a bit of a warmup, in time for the Christmas tree lighting at the Historic Courthouse.
The tree lighting moved a few years ago from the 500 block to the Courthouse square. There's lots more room, and that has allowed organizers to add entertainment and story-telling. This year, a bunch of us local authors will be inside the Courthouse signing books. I'll be there to sign The Westfeldts of Rugby Grange, my book about the New Orleans coffee family that settled in Fletcher in the 1870s in the big stone house on a hill that overlooks today's I-26. This time of year you can see the big house, which the family called Rugby Grange, in Fletcher west of the Meritor sign.

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I am thankful that Main Street work is done, and I'm sure downtown merchants are too.
Much has been written about our downtown and said about it. I was glad to see that in this year's City Council campaign, while there was much disagreement over business burdens, water charges and spending money on Berkeley Mills Park, the candidates agreed that the three-phase downtown makeover from Allen Street to Seventh Avenue was a worthwhile project. It's easy for us to take it for granted. First-time visitors to Hendersonville are truly impressed with Main Street and its variety of stores and restaurants and the absence of seedy blocks or boarded up storefronts that plague many small towns. I think tourists don't complain about downtown parking as much as we do.

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This holiday season is a runaway train. Thanksgiving is the latest it can possibly be. After Thanksgiving week, we're just three weeks from Christmas week. I would like to be optimistic and say that maybe that is the reason Big Retail moved Black Friday back to Thanksgiving Day but I'm not that naïve. The only thing that will stop Christmas calendar creep back toward Labor Day is a shopper boycott. The temptation of the $10 Slow Cooker on aisle 3 is too great to allow that to happen, I fear.
The better angels of our nature won't prevail when it comes to Christmas shopping and our national habit of expressing love by wrapping a box in colorful paper and tucking it under a tree. Which reminds me of the annual marathon mission to empty to attic of Christmas supplies.
But wait. That can't be here, can it?

Bill Moss, editor of the Hendersonville Lightning, can be reached at