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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Holi-Daze

We here in the USA are a bit funny about our holidays. We love them, there's no doubt about it, but we are not above moving them around for our convenience. As a result, we have created a number of holiday weekends, AKA Three-Day Weekends. Some holidays are still on their original dates, but if they should fall on a weekend, we'll take Monday off to make the joy last longer. Since we just finished with our President's Day holiday, which replaced Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, I was reminded of a holiday several years ago.

At one time, instead of working one full-time job, I was working two part-time jobs. It wasn't easy, but it was necessary. One of the jobs, which I did not like, provided me with the insurance coverage I so desperately needed. The other, which had no insurance, was the one I loved. Even though this was a time in my life when I was dealing with health challenges galore, I would get up in the morning and drive across town to my morning job. After my shift, I would drive home, grab a bite to eat, change, and head off to my afternoon/evening job. I learned to use the daily trips in the car as part of my relaxing time. I would roll the windows down and enjoy the fresh air while listening to the radio or recorded music. It was delightful.


On one such lovely February day, when I was on the way to my afternoon job, I had the radio on. The female host of the show was talking about the weather and such and then mentioned that it was President's Day that day. As I said before, it started out with two holidays in honor of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. The two were combined into one holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Combining these holidays into one also makes it possible for us to use this day to honor all of the Presidents of the United States of America. So I have to admit my shock when I heard the radio host say, "Today is President's Day, so I guess if you are the President of something, today is your day..." It was one of those moments that immediately burn themselves into your memory. I can even remember that I was in the middle of making a left turn and that it was a sunny, mild afternoon. I was stunned. Was she making a bad joke? Was she, ahem, uninformed? (And yes, I am using the word "uninformed" instead of something cruel like the word "stupid," for example. Sometimes I am the mistress of kind euphemisms. Not always, but sometimes!) As the radio show continued, I became aware that she not only wasn't joking, she was sincere. Yes, my friends, she actually had no idea that it was a day to honor US Presidents. I know that it could be worse, but it still floored me, and does to this day. 


Maybe it ties into my weird little fixation about Independence Day. I have gotten to a point where it really bothers me to hear people say, "Happy Fourth of July!" I understand that their hearts are in the right place, but to me, just naming the date seems to diminish the importance of this holiday. We are talking, after all, about the date on which a brave group of individuals signed a document the likes of which the world had never seen. They put into writing their complaints against King George III of England, and declared themselves to be a free and independent nation. They knew that according to the laws of England, they were committing treason, and by these laws they could be publicly executed in the most gruesome of ways. Yet they finished the document with these beautiful and brave words, "...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Their Independence was worth their lives, so I always say Independence Day. Am I asking too much? Am I just being weird? Perhaps. But I never hear people saying, "Happy December 25th!" Or "Happy Fourth Thursday in November!" Why? Because it lessens the meaning of those days, doesn't it? Food for thought.

I am glad that only some of out holidays have been moved to Mondays. If they ever try to move Christmas, Independence Day, New Year's Day, or Thanksgiving to Mondays for convenience, I think I won't be the only one complaining. Some holidays are far more important than any three-day weekend. May all your holidays be safe and happy...