Small Business Saturday

This will be the last “shopping” post I’m going to make this year.  And the only reason to post this one is because of who sponsored this relatively new trend.

Small Business Saturday was first observed in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts on November 27, 2010 in response to the “big box” events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  The event encourages shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.  The first event was sponsored by American Express, in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino , and, of course, Roslindale Village Main Street. Since the first one more than 95 million people are now coming out to shop, spending more than $14 billion, as noted on the American Express Small Business page.

According to Small Business Saturday on Wiki, the UK saw the success of Small Business Saturday and decided to pick it up and run with it. So great that small businesses all over the world are prospering because of this day. I will be out there supporting my local community, I hope you will consider doing the same.

Black Friday & It’s History

Black Friday is called that because it is the day retailers go “in the black” in the profit column, right?  Well, actually the first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied to a financial crisis on September 24, 1869.  The crash of the U.S. gold market caused by two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, who worked together to buy up as much gold as they could hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.  On that Friday, the conspiracy unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

While there are many rumored stories of Black Friday, the one that took root in retail and evolved into a more positive event involves the city of Philadelphia and the big Army-Navy football game.  You can read all about this game, and how it came to be here.

Happy Thanksgiving

A day to gather, celebrate gratefulness, and maybe eat some good food.  I could regal you with the history, the Macy’s Day parade, the world record turkey (86 lbs), the fastest time carving a turkey (3 min 19 seconds) or the largest pumpkin pie (3,669 lbs).

Instead I’m thinking of the 10 Best Thanksgiving Movies –  Charlie Brown makes it to #1.  Can you guess the rest?

Co-Conspirator of Turkey

What else would today be if not the Co-conspirator of turkey everywhere?  That is right, it is Cranberry Day!  We once again ask why, especially when it comes to that wiggly, jiggly, ridged cranberry sauce from the can.

I don’t know how I knew that the cranberry is actually native to North America, but I did and it is.  As a wild perennial, we know Native Americans used cranberries as both food and medicine.  Cranberries are well-suited to the chilly climate and acidic soil of the Northern hemisphere, and are grown in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey and in parts of Washington and Oregon. Wisconsin is currently producing more than half of the world’s total crop.  Cranberries, Concord grapes, and blueberries often get lumped together as the only fruits native to North America – but that’s only partially correct.  They are the only native North American fruits which are commercially grown.  And of those three, cranberries were the first to flourish as a commercial crop thanks to innovative growing practices, including the introduction of wet harvesting and the formation of a cooperative of growers we know today as Ocean Spray.

cranberry-rose

In the 1930’s cranberry farming shifted from dry harvesting to wet.  Dry harvesting is a labor-intensive affair.  Wet harvesting cuts the labor to a handful of people but comes with a caveat.  The berries are often too imperfect to sell as fresh product, leaving companies like Ocean Spray to meet this challenge with a solution they had waiting on the bench the whole time: Can ‘em.

You can read more here about cranberries, their harvest and history. And if you are really interested please click here for a short video on how to create the “jellied cranberry rose”.

The Sunday Drive

Many of the cases I handle involve automobile accidents, both personal and commercial.  I started out researching the actual statistics of the number of auto accidents on weekends versus mid-week, but as so often happens, I was diverted on the Internet highway to the history of the “Sunday Drive”.

horsebuggy

The Sunday drive tradition has it’s roots in the U.S. and New Zealand and actually began long before automobiles.  Back in the horse and buggy days when families took Sunday’s off to attend church and then took their time heading home or would take advantage of the light work day to “sight see”.  This tradition became even more entrenched during the beginning of the automobile era in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  The idea was that automobile’s were not used for commuting or errands, but for pleasure.  So much so that eventually “Parkways” were constructed for “recreational” driving and excluded trucks and other heavy vehicles, many were strictly roads that went through the scenic route to a destination.

How many movie plots in the past center around driving for pleasure, too many to count. The movies go back decades, and I found hundreds of sites on the web with the “Top Driving Movies”. I found this one to be pretty cool for its’ diversity, The 29 Greatest Car Movies Ever. At this time, the only thing that seems to have an effect on driving for pleasure is the price of gas. Gas rationing in the 70’s definitely had an effect as did the incredibly fast rising gas price of the mid 2000’s, when the average price rose as high as $4.85 a gallon. We tend to park our fun little gas guzzlers when the prices get so high.

sportsdrivingforpleasure

On the eve of this “driving holiday” known as Thanksgiving, I pray you’ll be safe and have some fun with your family. I am really glad the cost of a gallon of gas is not $4.85 a gallon.  Maybe you can take advantage of gas prices and consider taking the “scenic route” home. Here is a list of America’s Most Scenic Roads.