Christmas Is Upon Us

Published On November 26, 2011 | By Mike Carroll | Daily Diary, Greyhounds, Greyhounds Friends For Life, KCRA-TV, Photo Essay

Outside one of the children’s stores at Sacramento’s Arden Fair Mall. Everyone else was having pictures taken with the bear, so why shouldn’t I? KCRA reporter Tom DuHain snapped this and e-mailed it back to the station. I hope they posted it on the website.

The Christmas Season is officially here. Known as “Black Friday,” the first day after Thanksgiving when all the stores are mad with super-low one-day sales and the public turns into shopping zombies to get deals for Christmas gifts.

Personally, I just go to Amazon where you can get the same kind of shopping bargains all the time — and not have to pay the sales tax. But then I suppose that I am one of the statics adding to the demise of the brick & mortar stores.

Shooting the shoppers. (Guess I shouldn’t say that too loudly these days.) The shopping malls — where else would I be on assignment the day after Thanksgiving.

To be honest, I have to confess to being a little slow on the shopping jargon. I’ve been hearing about “Black Friday” for years but I never put it together with the day after Thanksgiving shopping sprees. I’d hear the term and associate it with some horror film or with Black Sunday, the 1970s thriller about terrorists trying to blow-up the Super Bowl. After being in the malls all day it doesn’t seem much different.

Here’s a link to one of the three stories we did at Sacramento’s Arden Fair Mall on Black Friday.

For as long as I’ve been in this business, since 1983, I think I’ve spent every Friday-after-Thanksgiving at a shopping mall. Ironically, I still haven’t bought anything on any of those days. I think I’d rather be paid to film shoppers going into stores than to actually do it myself. Maybe I’m an observer and not a participator.

KCRA reporter Tom DuHain taking a picture of lunch at Harry’s Cafe — one of our favorite assignments. Photo taken on March 9, 2011.

The best part of the day, I must say, was working with KCRA reporter Tom DuHain, who has been at KCRA-TV now for over forty years, since he was eighteen! You walk down the malls and people of all ages shout out, “Hi Tom DuHain!”

Anthony, the lineman for the county — or the checkout lines at Arden Faire Mall.

Now this fellow was interesting. Tom and I came upon him when we’d finished all our shooting and were heading back to the live truck to edit. This is Anthony. I suppose he’s between jobs. But not to just wait around he’s being assertive and going out and working for shoppers. You call him and he will come and stand in a long checkout line for you while you finish shopping, or run over to the neighboring store. He only charges ten bucks a store. Very impressive and industrious. I want to check in with him later in the season and see if he’s still doing this. He should do well in the final days before Christmas.

No Fur activists. I’m with them. There’s enough fabulous synthetic clothing available these days in believable animal skin print patterns there’s absolutely no need in this day and age to wear the actual skin of a real animal.

But the highlight of the day for me had to be the No Fur activists on the sidewalk at the corner of the entrance to the mall.

As we were walking up to them, Tom DuHain said aside to me, “Greyhound alert!”

Standing at the foot of one of the women was a sweet and stunning female greyhound. My camera immediately went from a wide shot of the activists with their signs and in on a close-up of the greyhound.

Mary the No Fur greyhound with her mom, Janet Thew. (Please excuse the photographer’s finger over the lens in upper left.)

“And who is this?” I asked.

“That’s Mary,” her owner, Janet Thew said. “She’s a nine* year-old brood matron. She produced over ten litters of greyhounds for the tracks.”

[Correction from Janet, Mary’s mom: Mary is actually eleven.]

“Oh, my God, she’s so sweet,” I said. By this time I’d put my news camera down and Mary had come up to me and rested her chin in my outstretched hand. “Where did you get her?”

“At Greyhounds Friends for Life. They are the world’s sweetest dogs. You should get one.”

“Actually, I have two. And we’re fostering a third for GFFL.”

This brought a big round of enthusiasm for me being there from all the the No Fur people. There is nothing quite like the circle of people who rescue the racing track greyhounds. And meeting Mary and her owner made me even prouder of our rescues Alex and Ava and of my wife Bonnie for her work in helping to foster greyhounds for future owners, as we are doing right now with a wonderful five year-old boy named Lucky.

You can’t have too many pictures of greyhounds.

Wouldn’t a stunning creature like this look great in your household for Christmas?

So another day-after-Thanksgiving at the kick-off to the Christmas shopping spree. A good day with a good friend and reporter, meet a lot of interesting new people, and a new greyhound. What a great way to spend a working day. And to think I get paid for doing this!

Merry Christmas!



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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

3 Responses to Christmas Is Upon Us

  1. Janet says:

    Thanks for showcasing Mary, Mike, and for speaking up for leaving fur on the original owners! Mary is 11, by the way, and we adopted her at 9. It was wonderful to meet you, as greyhound people are like a big family. Especially since we’re all Greyhound Friends for Life family members. Small world, huh?

  2. Jeannie says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to the need for placement of retired racing greyhounds. I now have my third, and cannot emphasize enough the sweet disposition and loving nature of these dogs. Plus, they rarely bark. So many are in need of homes. I’d love to see a feature story done on them to educate the public. Members of Greyhound Friends For Life, or Greyhound Adoption Center in the area would be more than happy to assist in any way.

  3. Cathy Kastner says:

    Mike, I am another greyhound lover and my grey came from GFFL also! Will all of you be at the Holiday Open House at Shana Laursen’s barn, Saturday from 1-4? I plan to be there with my grey and my Irish Wolfhound. Mike, could the event be filmed for a special interest story? Like look at this community that comes together to celebrate the special greyhounds in their lives? Just a thought…

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