Thanksgiving left on the shoulders of a howling Northwest wind, accompanied by enough light snow to coat the fields and roads. We had been planning a trip to Brownsville to take a look at the habitat restoration islands project recently complete in Pool 8. This type of project is one of the ways I like to see my tax dollars at work in My Minnesota. The Mississippi backwaters have long been known for their attractiveness to waterfowl. A couple of weeks ago there were reported to be about 7,500 trumpeter swans in Pool 8. The storm may offer them a helpful tail wind since its about the time of year for them to move on. We'll make the trip another year. A "recreational" drive of several hours through snow flurries and thirty-plus mph winds has about as much appeal to me as standing for hours in a Black Friday lemming-line to "save money" that I can spend on something, anything, else I don't really need (said the writer/reader/book lover who's slowly driving his family out of their house with his accumulating stacks of books and bookcases, all of which he "needs"). Meanwhile, I'll try to celebrate "Buy Nothing" day and look forward to shopping at some of the local independents who offer coffee and treats to their customers at this time of year. Big Box Black Friday now makes me think of a paraphrase of Ross Perot's line about "that sucking sound you hear is the profits leaving your community."