Monday, October 09, 2017

Three day weekend

It’s a good long time since I worked a regular job, where you actually had to get up in the morning, go to work, and come home. Once you go freelance, you’re pretty much on flex time. I work at night so I can loll around in bed in the morning reading. I work on weekends so I can take a do-nothing day during the week. It is, altogether, a pretty splendid situation.

But if it’s been a good long time since I worked a regular job, it’s a gooder and longer time since that job entailed Columbus Day as a holiday. Somewhere along the line, every place where I worked converted the Columbus Day holiday day off to the day after Thanksgiving (much better) or Patriots Day (much, much better).

Yet, despite being a semi-retired freelancer, here I am, enjoying a three-day weekend.

Psychologically speaking, there is nothing like it. Knowing you have Sunday off makes Saturday a pretty awesome day, even on a mingy little two-day weekend. But Sunday, well, by mid-day you know it’s back-to-the-grind on Monday. Unless Monday is, blessedly, a holiday. Which it is for Presidents-with-one-exception Day, Patriots Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

I’m fine with keeping other holidays on their “real” day. I mean, the 4th of July is the 4th of July. And although no one knows for certain what day the birth of Christ actually occurred on – the odds are it wasn’t December 25th – I’m all in favor of keeping December 25th in Christmas. But it’s still great to have long weekends, and it’s always a bonus when July 4th and Christmas yield them.

Anyway, this Columbus Day I’m taking a do-little, holiday, noting that, on past Columbus Days I have often written about immigrants, and have even proposed that Columbus Day should be re-named Immigrants Day. Last year, I started calling it just that.

But I’ve been rethinking things and, if we’re not going to establish a new holiday to honor (and beg forgiveness from) the indigenous people that C. Columbus found when he arrived, maybe this should be their day. After all, they were here first.

As for Immigrants Day, how about rebranding Thanksgiving? After all, what most of the sons and daughters, the grandsons and granddaughters, the great-grandsons and great-granddaughters of immigrants, are thankful for is that those before them had the foresight and/or gumption and/or desperation to get out of the god-awful places where they lived. I’m the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of immigrants. My mother had no choice in the matter. She was carted along, age 4, with her parents. But my maternal grandparents, and paternal great-grandparents all got up and came here.

The only ancestral place I’ve been to is Ballintubber, Co. Mayo, from whence came my father’s grandmother, Margaret Joyce. The area is lovely, but until Ireland modernized a few decades ago, I’m quite sure living there provided a pretty hardscrabble, miserable existence. As did, no doubt, the other ancestral digs: Ballintubber, Co. Roscommon, and Ballymascanlon, Co. Louth in Ireland, and, on the German side, Neue Banat (which, after WWI, found itself in Romania - talk about hell-hole).

So Thanksgiving is the new Immigrants Day, got that?

And after today, I’ll try to stop thinking of this as Columbus Day, and give a nod to Indigenous People’s Day.

Happy Indigenous People’s Day, and happy long weekend. (Who doesn’t love a three-day weekend?)

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