Now retired I see long week-ends through different eyes. No longer do I anticipate the beginning of three glorious days off. Each long week-end was to be enjoyed as a time to turn off the alarm clock, relax with perhaps a special event or planned trip. Not once did I think ahead to Tuesday morning and facing a four-day week that would hold five days of work to complete. At the end of the four-day week I was exhausted; and ready for the two-day week-end. How ironic.
As a youngster growing up on a farm long week-ends were marked by tasks. The May long week-end found us in the garden. Any farmer will tell you that it is unwise to plant before the May long week-end to avoid frost destroying your garden. Dad would use the tiller to create rows for the potatoes to be dropped. We followed him, always being careful to not plant the cuttings too close and have overcrowd plants grow or to space too far apart and waste valuable garden space.
This would not be the last time we would see these potatoes. Hoeing, weeding and checking for pests was a constant for the summer. When the Thanksgiving long week-end arrived we would be out in the garden once again following Dad as he used the digger to unearth the new potatoes. We would pick the potatoes in pails and load up a wagon. Next the pails would be emptied onto a slatted ramp placed in a basement window. The potatoes would dance along the ramp, shedding dirt through the slats and into the large basement bin. Over the winter this Irish family would enjoy potatoes cooked several different ways.
Post retirement a long week-end can arrive without my noticing. I am surprised when I find banks, post offices and certain stores closed.
The point was driven home on this past Monday when talking with my son. I asked him if he was home from work early. His response, “Mom, it’s a stat holiday, you retired people”.
Long week-ends have evolved from a time for hard, dirty work in the garden to time off from the work place and now to a non-event in retirement.
I love it.