Put away the silverware!
Lock the dog in the closet!
Douse the party flames!
Kill the fatted calf!
Roll up the sidewalks!
Stop the fun IMMEDIATELY!
Labor Day is coming!
The last hurrah of the summer. The final gasp of heat, sun, and relaxation.
Hold it - are we school kids? Don't we work all year long? Weren't we working this summer anyway?
Some of the arcane traditions that go along with Labor Day make it a weird holiday. I once lived at an apartment where they closed the pool every year on Labor Day. It didn't matter if it was fifty degrees or a hundred degrees, the cover went on, and the summer was over. I hate when that happens. As Andrea says, "Lid's down. Lost the Key."
Or - you can't wear white shoes after Labor Day. I love this video from the film "Serial Mom" - I hope you enjoy it as well. "You can't wear white shoes after labor day."
To me, Labor Day is the time when you put away childish things and focus on the real work of living as if living isn't working anyway. As for me, I want to bring back those ..."lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. You'll wish that summer could always be here."
Why should that be a celebration? Why should we say hurrah to the cessation of fun - to give up the light?
Do not go gentle into that good night, ...; Rage, rage against the dying of the light - Dylan Thomas.
If you want to affect the world, please change the arbitrary rules by which we live - whatever they are.
There is a constant debate in this house concerning the number of official holidays existing in England and the United States. This discussion ends here. Yes, I lost.
The scores are in and it looks like England drew the short straw.
United States England
It got me thinking that it might be good take a look at holidays in both countries. You can choose your own or take them all. It's up to you. Well - not really - it's kind of up to your boss, isn't it? Retired people have all those days off. Wouldn't that be a hoot!
In the United States, with a couple of exceptions, U.S. national holidays target things we want to remember. They happen about once a month. Mostly, they're a result of horrible things we want to remember so they never happen again.
In England, workers have days off that commemorate religious events during the year. Mostly, they surround Church of England religious events. They're called "Bank Holidays" here. Here's a recap list for this year:
England and United States
Monday, 1 January
New Year's Day
This is arguably the best time to invade any country as most everybody has a hangover or creaks out of bed up late or both. It should be called "Potential Country Invasion Day" or "Potential War Day." You can treat it as a day of optimism and hope or you can just say good riddance to the year that was.
Monday, January 15
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Very cool guy. I'm glad Martin has his own day. He deserves his day, but it also reminds us how horrible we used to be to one another. It's an excellent time to remember how far we've come and how far we have to go in how we treat each other.
Monday, February 19
I thought this had been changed to Presidents Day because Abe gave up his birthday to Martin, and, of course, Martin deserves his day. We celebrate George Washington who led the troops in the Revolutionary War and Abraham Lincoln who led the Civil War. Okay -perhaps some good came out of those conflicts. I suppose we celebrate the fact that we don't want to fight those wars again. George and Abe are heavy hitters in history, and I reckon they deserve the day.
Friday, 30 March
Isn't every Friday good? Well, except for Friday the 13th maybe - It should just be called Friday and we should do it every week. Cheers to the four day work week! Hip, Hip, Hooray! Drinks all around.
Monday, 2 April
We don't do Easter in the United States - it might offend somebody so if you can't please everybody - please nobody. There is a separation of church and state in the United States, but it doesn't stop the president from hosting an Easter Egg hunt or saying God Bless America. In England, the Queen is head of the church and what she says goes. Its just a name and well isn't Easter on a Sunday anyway. Don't we always get Sunday off? This one isn't about war, but it's about this guy who was horribly beaten, stuck on a cross, then, came back to life. Oh my - it would be nice to have Easter Monday off in the States, but well we already have ten holidays.
Monday, 7 May
Early May Bank Holiday
I like this - no reason - just cause it's early May - I think that pesky pagan May Pole has something to do with it. It does have something to do with May Day which is really the 1st of May. May Day was originally oriented around pagan practices, and there's usually singing, dancing, cake and much merriment to be had. I suppose there's tea, scones, and whiskey as well. Oh well - I guess "needs must."
United States - Monday, May 28
Memorial Day - Yup - remembering people who died in a war, the families the wars ripped apart, the broken and battered human remnants of war. This, we should not forget.
England - Monday, 28 May
Spring bank holiday - Yay! Spring
United States - Wednesday, July 4
Independence Day - Yup - Fill your cup with stars and stripes we get to remember the war. Actually, July 4th was when the Declaration of Independence was signed. What ensued from that document was a war. We remember that bold step that lunged us toward independence. This is the declaration that launched a nation. I got some folks to celebrate the 4th of July in England once, but I guess they just thought it was a good time to get rid of those pesky colonials. Me, I'm just happy we all get along again. Except for that language thing. We have differing thoughts about that one. "Two nations divided by a common language."
Monday, 27 August
Summer Bank Holiday
No labor today cause it is summer outside. Well - summer started on 21 June (in the US at least, in England it starts on May 1). Okay, we'll call it End of Summer Bank Holiday. But summer doesn't officially end until September 21st. I guess it's just time to close the pools and start putting all those white shoes away.
Monday, September 3
Remembering the labor conflict - social conflict - not a war - but - well people were angry with each other. President Cleveland sent in troops to quash a demonstration where a couple of people got killed. That action made folks angry. Because people got killed and it was an election year Grover Cleveland declared there would be a Labor Day. He lost the election anyway - Good going, Grover.
Monday, October 8
Remembering an adventurer. An Italian guy who conned three ships and a bucket of doubloons from the King and Queen of Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella had a big DIY project in Granada since they acquired a massive palace from the folks who built it. To renovate, they needed more gold and silver to kick people out of the castle and put some polish on the fixer-upper - War & Slaughter.
Monday, November 12
This is remembering those who fight the wars. I, personally, like to reflect on what these people do. They step into harm's way, so we don't have to.
Thursday, November 22
Remembering that wonderful time when the Pilgrims (displaced people from England) celebrated their good fortune with their benefactors (the native folk). This lead eventually to the carnage of the displacement of the people who showed up in North America first.
England and United States
Tuesday, December 25
Remembering someone who was born in a stable. The king, at the time, promptly decided that all children in Bethlehem under one year old had to die. Carnage ensued. An angel warned this intrepid young traveler. He escaped to Egypt, thereby surviving to die on a cross under Pontius Pilot. Then there was the Inquisition, the crusades and, well, mainly - war, genocide, and a little baby. Ahhh.
Wednesday, 26 December
Not a US holiday because, in the U.S., we don't use boxes. We're just those radical upstarts. Most people in the U.S. take this day off anyway. "In England, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year." It seems like all business stops from the week before Christmas through New Year's day. Most people are in a bit of a food coma on this day and probably couldn't work if they wanted to. Nevertheless, I love Boxing Day because it's a really, really cool name for a day.
We should celebrate our labors, and we should take time off, and we should remember the horrible things that happened in history, so we just don't do them again.
Until next week, I wish you peace.