Friday, April 10, 2009

It's a Good Friday

by Lisa Curry

Ah, spring in Pittsburgh – there’s nothing like it. Sunday was a sunny 70 degrees. Monday afternoon the flurries started to fly. Tuesday morning we had snow on the ground and accidents all over the highways due to hazardously icy road conditions.

Winter that wants to hang on forever makes me hate living in Pittsburgh at this time of year. But coincidentally, this week also brings a reason to love living in Pittsburgh: Good Friday as a paid holiday – something many ’Burghers take for granted.

After graduating from college in 1985, I moved from Western Pennsylvania to Atlanta. My first clue that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, Toto, should have been when I told my coworker, Barbara, I was giving up beer for Lent.

“Lint?” Barbara said. “What the heck is lint?”

Lent might be a Catholic observance, but where I came from, everybody – Catholic, Protestant or otherwise – had at least heard of it. Then I read somewhere that in Pennsylvania, 42% of the population was Catholic, whereas in Georgia, only 8% of the population was Catholic.

But I was still shocked to learn that nobody down there gets Good Friday off work – or even entertains the notion that Good Friday ought to be a paid holiday. Confederate Memorial Day, maybe. Good Friday, nosirreeebob.

Alas, when I boomeranged back to Western Pennsylvania 5 years later, I went to work for what I think might have been the only company in Pittsburgh that didn’t give Good Friday off as a paid holiday. We were a business-to-business catalog sales company with customers around the country, and our CEO, while from the Northeast, knew darn well that people in other regions were at work spending their companies’ money on Good Friday, and we were darn well going to be at work taking their orders that day. Even those of us who just made the catalogs and didn’t take the orders from them.

When you think about it, that never-ending dry spell between New Year’s Day on January 1 and Memorial Day on the last Monday in May is a really depressingly long time to go without a day off.

That’s why I’m grateful to now finally work for a company that gives its employees Good Friday off as a paid holiday. My boss, the owner of the company, is a Pittsburgh native, and the company started out as a local graphic design agency. Until recently, I’m not sure he even realized the rest of the world doesn’t have Good Friday off. But the company has grown, and now we have clients all over the country. Two of our biggest accounts are huge corporations based in California and Tennessee, whose employees are hard at work today, conducting business as usual. That makes me wonder how much longer our Good Friday holidays might last.

But while we have it, I’m going to savor it. Today I’m going to lounge around in my jammies drinking coffee for a while, hang out with my kids and husband, who also has the day off (and always has, lucky dog), and maybe do some Easter basket shopping a little later on.

Are you off work today, and if so, what are you going to do with your Good Friday?


Anonymous said...

Lisa, I'm not Catholic, but I always appreciate Good Friday. (Some people get off on the holiday now called Easter Monday.) And of course, being from a very rural part of western PA, I grew up getting off school for the opening of deer season--both buck and doe!

lisa curry said...

Nancy, my kids still get the first day of buck season off from school. Since it's always the Monday after Thanksgiving, they just don't go back to school until Tuesday. And what's really a pain in the butt is that my kids' babysitter is a hunter, so I have to make special arrangements for somebody else to watch them that day!

Joyce said...

When I worked for the PD, we had off Good Friday AND Easter Monday. I think federal employees even get GF off. Except Son #1--he's still giving tours today.

Our school district always has off the first day of deer season, too.

Karen in Ohio said...

Good Friday is always a sad day for me, and have you noticed, like Election Day, it always rains on Good Friday? That only adds to the dolor. I try to make it a point to meditate for a few minutes, between noon and three, on Jesus' suffering at that time.

Yes, you can tell I grew up Catholic, although I have not done any other ritual from that time since high school. This one thing, though, seems meaningful to me, for some reason.

My middle daughter went to college near Boston, and everyone in Massachusetts gets a holiday on Patriot's Day, whatever that is. Sometime in the early spring. She loved that, both when she was in school, and during the year she worked in the city.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

This is the first Good Friday I've had to work in 25 years. All the jobs I've had previous to this one observed Good Friday as a Holiday. I'm not upset with it, because I knew going in that I'd be working and I could have chosen to use a personal day to have the day off. It is what it is.

As usual, Good Friday here in St. Louis is cool, cloudy with a light mist in the air, as if the angels are weeping.

Jennie Bentley said...

Where I'm from, not only do you get Good Friday off, you get Thursday and half of Wednesday, as well as the Monday and Tuesday following Easter Sunday. Makes me wonder why I ever left...

lisa curry said...

Good heavens, Jennie, wherever are you from? I might want to move there! :-)

Joyce said...

I forgot to mention that being the good Catholic girl that I am, I WILL be going to church this afternoon.

Karen, just remember that if not for Good Friday, we'd have no Easter Sunday!

NL Gassert said...

I’m in KS, and I'm off, but it's an unpaid holiday. Good Friday is definitely a very Catholic holiday, so it would make sense that GA doesn't participate with only 8% of the population having a connection to Good Friday. On the other hand, KS seems to be mostly Catholic, according to some Census data I saw, so you'd think Good Friday ought to be a paid holiday.

Anonymous said...

Any day I don't have to be at work is a good day. Don't get me wrong--I do like my job--but I'd always rather be home in front of my computer.

Happy Easter or Happy Passover!