I was going to have a book review post for y’all today, seeing as we’re on a three-day holiday and I had reading plans … but then I spent yesterday afternoon and evening incoherent from migraine pain, so. Here are my thoughts on the holiday weekend instead.
Having moved to New England from the Midwest, one of the most fascinating things about Boston culture from my perspective is how seriously we take our federal and local holidays. Columbus Day weekend, for example, is a three-day weekend in Boston — not just meaning no mail delivery but that schools and places of work are closed. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Veteran’s Day — hardly a month goes by that we don’t have a Monday or floating holiday on which a good proportion of the professional classes, at least, expect to get a paid day off from work.
I’m betting most of you, if you haven’t ever lived in Massachusetts or Maine (and, according to Wikipedia, Wisconsin?!), won’t have heard of Patriots’ Day or know what it commemorates. Patriots’ Day is today, which is why Hanna and I are in Vermont enjoying a lovely post-breakfast snooze in our B&B, and why thousands of runners are currently pounding the pavement between Hopkinton and Copley Square for the Boston Marathon. (My advice? Ignore all the endless “Boston strong” coverage and watch Saint Ralph instead.)
Patriots’ Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, early skirmishes in what would become known as the American Revolution — aka that time we Americans eventually kicked some British ass. If you’re like me, you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that aspect of American political history, but in Boston — home of the Freedom Trail (America’s first history trail) — it’s huge.
I don’t really have anything profound to say about all of this except it’s funny what parts of American national history are important or not-so-important based on regional experience.
I mean, would it really have been that horrible if we’d remained part of the commonwealth, like Canada did, instead of fighting a long, miserable, and bloody revolution?
There’s I’ve said it.
Happy holiday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing today.