Saturday, September 6, 2014


I remember the holidays when I was a kid. We never did big, extravagant things, since we were poorer than I realized at the time. However, we had a good time, usually after working at least half a day (Though, sometimes, we worked ALL day and just celebrated that evening). You see, on the farm, there’s ALWAYS something that needs done, 365 days a year, especially if you heat with wood or have livestock. Besides, anyone who’s ever been self-employed knows that any day taken off is income lost. If you’re SPENDING money to celebrate, then the loss is double. So—we worked. The only exceptions were Christmas and any holiday that happened to fall on a Sunday.

Things changed some in the 60’s, when my paternal grandparents and one paternal aunt died. They REALLY changed in the 80’s, when my father passed away. He was, apparently, the glue that held my immediate family together. Things gradually went downhill, with my wife, mother and sister caring less and less for one another’s company. Similar things were happening in my wife’s family after her own father died. In the 90’s, my paternal grandparents and my beloved great-aunt passed away. In 2010, my mother-in-law passed away. By now, all my wife’s many aunts and uncles are gone, and only three of my eleven such relatives (plus my mother) remain, two of those out-of state, so things are very different from the old days.

My wife won’t go to my sister’s or mom’s places, but she will invite them here (since they behave better on her turf), and they’ll come, so a couple times a year, I get to experience some semblance to a holiday, especially if “the kids” (my step-son and his wife) come too. Of course, if any of our five grandkids show up, that’s even better. But, such get-togethers only happen a couple times a year, if then. I realize that everyone goes through at least some of this as they get older, but that doesn’t make me long for the old days any less.

We don’t get paid holidays starting out on my new job, and only one is added per year of service until there are 12 of them. I understand their thinking, since the bosses are self-employed. They probably feel that they’re being generous and, since it’s a small company, they basically are. Unfortunately, that makes it pretty unlikely that I’ll ever get all of them. To tell you the truth, with the exception of Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, I’d rather work the other holidays, rather than lose the pay. Otherwise, it sort of feels like we’re being punished the week after a holiday for not working it, though we have no choice. I really don’t blame my employers, though, because once you’re self-employed, you never look at holidays quite the same way. Besides, it’s not like we have anyone to get together with, or can afford to do anything interesting.

I hope your holidays are paid, and that you enjoy them immensely. There’s no need for ALL of us to be grumpy or melancholy! © 2014


Lady Locust said...

On the ranch, the way was "cows eat before we do since they are the ones paying for the meal." Of course that also included the horses, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. We would usually have everything ready to roll so it went as smoothly as possible & we could get in maybe by 9:30-10AM which was a short morning. It's funny you posted this. I was just telling hubby, "I miss 1910." Not that I was alive then, just the values of the day. Maybe that's why we have memories. Keep well and enjoy the moments you get.

M. Silvius said...

Wouldn't know what a paid day off is, never had one. When you hammer nails for a living, if you don't work you don't get paid. I am told one must be edumacated and have a sit down sort of job to get paid vacations.

JMD said...

I did not realize either that our family didn't have much money. It wasn't until many years after I was grown that it became apparent to me. Actually, I think it is a good thing since perception is a big part of life.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I ger paid for holidays and vacstion but my husband does not. Being in construction, he does not really have any work during the holidays since no one wants their house torn up during that time. As there are changes in my company, we're not sure what it will look like next year though.

Gorges Smythe said...

You must have had a lot of stock, LL! I DO enjoy what moments I get with what family that I have left.

That's the way it was most of my life, too, Michael. Then I worked 12 years in a factory and got spoiled! lol

You're right, JMD, and we were no poorer than most of our neighbors, so we were mostly happy anyway.

I just prayed that your work would be stable, Kathy, and I will again if I can remember. (I have a lot of trouble with that!)

Mamahen said...

Only in telemarketing did I have pd holidays hmmm. I think I found the only good point (other than coworkers) about that job. I try to enjoy the "Holidays" but with my parents n 3 of my 4 siblings gone, its not the same.

Gorges Smythe said...

It must be that cloud/silver lining thing, Mh.

21shergar said...

The number of paid holidays you describe in your present job, Gorges, would leave the average Brit gasping. I've always found it to be one of the biggest cultural differences between the UK and the USA - that and how guns are viewed.
Here in the UK we only have eight, paid "Bank Holidays" - New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day (first Monday in May), Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May), August Bank Holiday (last Monday in August), Christmas Day and Boxing Day - but on top of that I suspect the average number of paid holidays for an employee here is around twenty-five. I have twenty-eight plus the Bank Holidays.
We don't know we're alive.