On this holiday a member of our family landed in hospital, where it was touch and go whether they'd be released for Christmas Eve. Hanging around the place that day really brought home to me how much we take for granted in terms of all the workers who bust their butts so the rest of us can have happy, stress free holidays. That perception was intensified at 6:40 a.m. on the still dark Christmas Day as I drove my handsome spouse to his job at a health care facility in town. Like him, many others went to work that day, leaving families behind to wait for shift change to start the gift opening and festivities.
When one family member has to work on any holiday, major discussions and revisions to plans take place to accommodate that, and when more than one family member works shifts, the quest to find a mutually agreeable time to get together becomes quite tricky. For those of us privileged to work the typical Monday to Friday 9 to 5 pm job, these considerations don't come into play and the lucky ones have no idea how hard it is just to have a family day with everybody together.
Not to single out health care workers, I tip my hat as well to retail workers at places like WalMart that stay open late or even 24/7 in December just to make life easy for their customers. And the staff complies, showing remarkable cheerfulness towards those who aren't always so cheerful in response. It reminded me of a short poem written by one of my favourite socialists, F.R. Scott. Here it is, taken from a book called "Poetry of our Time" edited by one Louis Dudek and published in 1966 by the Macmillan Company of Canada.
It is so nice for people to give things at Christmas,
That the stores stay open every evening till ten,
And the shop-girls celebrate the coming of Christ
By standing on their feet fourteen hours a day".
On that note, here's to all the hard working people doing all kinds of work with the public, work like health care, policing, government services, restaurant and retail workers. To all of them, a big thank you from one who appreciates what you give up to keep the rest of us fat and happy with our new toys. Ho Ho Ho and Happy New Year.