Each year, we note the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day kind of like we do Columbus Day, with flags patriotically placed along Main and Center and news clips remembering the namesake of the day. Few working people get the day off, save for federal and bank employees. Even schools, at least those in Moab, take the day off, even though they operate as quasi-governmental agencies using tax money. Nearly all private businesses are open. Weird, huh?
King, Columbus and George Washington are the only individuals who are honored with federal holidays in their names. But Washington is the sole guy to give most people a real three-day weekend.
M.L.K. Day was established during Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the mid-80s, and for a number of years the states that were reluctant to call it Martin Luther King Day called it Human Rights Day. That was true up until the year 2000, when all 50 states began observing it by the same name. It is designated on the third Monday of January, as had been the start of the Utah Legislative session, which has since been changed to the fourth Monday of January. So next week we can look forward to 45 ensuing days of hot air emanating from the state capitol, only adding to the nation’s worst smog that has settled over Salt Lake.
There are a lot of federal holidays, if you ask me. In a tourist town that can be a good thing, as guests find a little extra time for short vacations and adventures.
Monday wasn’t much of a holiday for me, except that I did spend a little down time watching television. That wasn’t because I wanted more rest or relaxation. It’s because I’m having a little trouble with my neck that is spreading to my arm and hand, and my physical therapist is hoping that it might be helped by having my head in traction for an hour or two a day. That’s a lot of sitting around for me, but if it works, I’m all for it.
I’m not one to watch television. I haven’t turned it on to watch anything except the news since the Kentucky Derby last spring. But these last few days while my head has been in a sling I’ve watched a popular television show on DVD until my eyes have gone bleary. It’s more TV than I care for. I know I should be taking these moments to meditate, but I’m just not that patient. Perhaps “Breaking Bad” can break me of my ailments. As I watch crazy scenes of crime and suspense I do feel better – I feel better knowing that it’s not my world unfolding on the screen.
A number of people have commented on my column from a couple of weeks back when I was lamenting the heating issues at my house. Finally this Monday, all the problems got fixed, but not without a little setback last week when the radiant heat floor got punctured by an errant carpet tack with the installation of a new rug. Thank goodness once again for the electric space heaters that got us through a few days of waiting for a part to be delivered to Moab. And thank goodness we weren’t enduring severe weather, as is the East Coast, although we’re long overdue for a storm. As I look around our house at other projects that might need work during this downtime of winter, however, I think I will forgo other improvements lest something else goes wrong.