Today’s Essay

Seasonal Worker

I was on my way to church on Christmas morning and had several 18-wheel trucks pass me on the freeway, just men and women doing their part to keep us moving. America has been a 24-hour place for many, many years and we don’t really think about it anymore. In fact, we expect it. When I worked in radio, I remember casting lots to see who would work Thanksgiving, Christmas eve, Christmas day, New Year’s and other inviolate holidays when it seemed like the whole world had those days off. Once I no longer had to work the holidays because I had achieved some level of seniority, I would take dinner to the poor souls who were stuck in an empty studio running a football game or, worse, broadcasting “best of” political programming.

I remembered being that guy, having to leave his family to fend for themselves, presents half opened, dinner half eaten, dishes half done. I would sit in the studio daydreaming about when I would have enough clout to say “no” when I was asked to work a holiday, but I reckoned that I couldn’t forget those people that were taking my place. To be sure, some were doing it for the overtime pay and others didn’t really have anyone at home, but still, I thought that someone should give them some consideration, some thanks for what they were doing.

As a kid, the world was a bit more religious, not necessarily more spiritual, but politely religious. Every 25th of December, the world would grind to a halt. Shops and bars were closed. You couldn’t get a plumber or electrician to come out even in an emergency, or if you did, it would cost you dearly. (Well, at least that part hasn’t changed.) As we produced more and more and the world became more convenient, our religious nature was pushed aside little by little. No longer was it frowned upon to work or have your employees work on Christmas. Scrooge became an everyman, just making a living and offering opportunity to others to do the same. Only lazy government employees had the day off.

The world at large, is responsible for itself. Poverty and its associated social ills are more the result of greed, corruption and hubris than location. Even the issues we have with the changing geography, climate and nature are man-made. Anyone, any political party, could create the luxury I have in my home. I’m broke, broke, broke and I have more than most of the world and I have what I have because so many people work to make my life possible.

Now fold in the people who are absolutely essential to our survival as a nation, as a people. I saw a post from someone whose daughter was in the hospital on Christmas morning with acute appendicitis. Without the doctors, nurses and other essential hospital staff, where would she be? Two police cars passed me on the way to mass en route to some crisis or another. There are soldiers around the world around the world keeping the peace where no one knows them, their ideology or their culture.

There are priests, ministers, choir directors; clerks, pharmacists, attendants; warehouses assembly like packagers getting out the orders in 24 hours or less; those in media who keep us informed and oh yeah, truck drivers. We have come to expect a world where everything is close at hand, where we can order up food and merchandise on our phones and have it arrive in an unreasonably short period of time. We are insulated from a world where an insufficient amount of food and other resources is the norm.

So, let’s keep in mind those nearly invisible people who make the difference in our lives every day. Say a prayer for the soldier, cop, first responder, medical professionals, truckers, warehouse workers, clerks, media moguls in training and on and on and on. They not only keep the world safe, but keep it moving forward one holiday at a time