Snow-mo dreams

I remember back when the United Snakes government started recognizing Martin Luther King Day as a federal holiday and began giving its employees a day off. That was problematical for me. Why? Because, although I worked at a government facility, my employer was a private contractor. My employer couldn’t have cared less about MLK Day. If us contractors wanted to get paid for that day, we had to either work or take a vacation day. The problem with working was that almost all of my co-workers had job responsibilities related directly to providing services to federal employees and others doing business at the facility. If the facility was closed, there was no business. Outside of a few security guards, nobody was there. Yes, that means there was NOTHING TO DO! I could never understand the difference between paying a bunch of people to drive into the workplace and sit there twiddling their thumbs all day and paying them holiday pay. Oh, I’m sure there are different “buckets” or whatever. But still. I was a conscientious, diligent worker who regularly went above and beyond the call of duty. I was also a busy young mother who could use a day off here and there to catch up on things. My memory is fuzzy about how we ended up handling MLK Day. I am pretty sure that I didn’t work but got paid and I don’t remember having to take vacation, so I can only guess that we figured out how to handle the situation creatively, if you know what I mean.

Not too many years later, the Planet Ann Arbor schools started closing for MLK Day. I don’t think I was working [outside the home, don’tcha know] by that time, so it was a non-issue for me except that it wasn’t any fun for the kids to be cooped up in the house in the bedraggled weather conditions that usually plague the Planet Ann Arbor in January (gray and drizzly with no new snow), so we had to find things to do and that often meant spending money or inviting a houseful of kids over (and cleaning up after them). Now I am working again and this year I do not get the day off. It doesn’t really matter much to me. My kids are out in the world looking after themselves these days. Heck, sometimes I even let them look after me just a wee little bit [wink]. But I can see that other people who have school-age children have to make some tough decisions. They can’t really afford to take a vacation day or time without pay to stay home with their young children but some of them don’t have any choice. Because the schools are closed…

In case you are wondering, no, this post is really not much about Dr. Martin Luther King. Or is it? I think we are kind of confused about this holiday and I am not really sure why observing it has resulted in what seem to be rather random work and school holiday policies. I know that there are ceremonies and celebrations everywhere that are related to Dr. King. But I have also traveled the Great Lakes State segment of the southbound I75 SUV Speedway many an MLK Day and I will bet my bottom dollar that not all of the snowmobile-toting southeast Michiganders I have shared the road with were ruminating upon Dr. King’s life, dreams, or accomplishments. And as to companies who do not pay holiday pay for MLK Day? Would Dr. King have wanted a family to have to go without pay for a day so they could celebrate his life? I don’t think so. I do think most folks need just a wee little bit more paid time off work than they get but I do not think it should be tied to federal holidays.

So what’s the point? Is this holiday a day to reflect upon Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream? Or is it just a day off school/work (for some but not others)? Or is it both? And is that okay? Didja have the day off? What did you do? What do you think?

One Response to “Snow-mo dreams”

  1. Margaret Says:

    It’s both for me; I’ve always gotten the day off and there are many activities at school related to the holiday, including an assembly. The one we had Thursday was amazing. I can imagine it would be a hassle to not have the day off(like most people) yet have your children home from school. What do people do during Winter break? Ours is two weeks long, which is too much time I think. (but no one ever asks me!)