Your average American holiday requires some sort of token effort. It’s not just a day off. You have to cook a turkey, shop for presents, put on a fancy dress, buy chocolate, get a new hat, buy more chocolate, watch a parade, march in a parade and maybe do some speechifying. Holy Punch List! That’s a lot of stuff to do.
Not so Labor Day. American workers, Monday is the one holiday where you don’t have to do anything. Want to sleep in late? Go ahead. Want to lounge around all day in your jammies? Be our guest. If you want to have a picnic on the beach, barbecue some salmon, catch some salmon, take a hike or just do nothing, you can. It’s a free country and a free holiday.
Yup, Labor Day is 100-percent guilt free, with no big civic activities organized. In Europe they have May Day, held May 1, also a day to celebrate workers. The Betster understands parades are involved, often with big tanks. Parades are fun, parades can be a hoot, but seriously, parades can be a lot of darn work. Our Labor Day really should be called Goof Off Day. No parades. No ceremonies.
OK, if you cannot go through life without a little guilt, consider this: not everyone has the day off. The Betster recognizes that some workers have to put on their hospital scrubs, strap on their duty belts and keep the turn-out gear ready to go. Nurses, doctors, cops, dispatchers, firefighters and others will be on the job.
Oh, and barristas, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, taxi drivers (land and sea), fishing guides and all the worker bees toiling in the visitor services industry — they’ll be on the job, too. Not for long, though. Come Tuesday, the long tourist season will end for many of them. You know that saying, “You can sleep next winter?” That would be Tuesday.
If you want to make this a weekend of sloth, go right ahead, but on the chance you also want to do some fun stuff, hey, as usual, there’s lots to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST LAST TANGO IN PARIS BET: The Pier One Theatre season winds down with “The Imaginary Invalid,” Moliere’s classic play set in 1960s Paris with a disco twist. Don’t miss your one last chance to see live theatre. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday.
BEST FOUR STRINGS, TWO HANDS BET: Haven’t caught uke mania yet? Learn about this hugely popular instrument with workshops and concerts by the Hawaiian Serenaders. They perform traditional tunes at 7 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts and then mixed plate at 5 p.m. Sunday at Bunnell Street Arts Center. Workshops run Friday-Monday. (See related story).
BEST WELCOME BACK BET: After several years absence, Tamamta Katurlluta, A Gathering of Native Traditions, returns to Homer. Catch the kayak landing at noon Saturday at the Pier One Theatre beach on the Spit or the dance and culture performance at 7 p.m. Saturday. (See related story).
BEST TAKE A HOLIDAY BET: Yeah, there’s Labor Day on Monday, but here’s a holiday that will put some spare change in your pocket: the annual winter holiday on sales taxes for nonprepared foods. Stock up for the winter and save 7.5 percent in local taxes starting Sunday, a gift from Homer and the Kenai Peninsula Borough residents who don’t head south for the winter.