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?