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Painter’s View: July 4th On and Off the Job

Many hotel and facility painters must work on July 4th. Particularly if they are scheduled for that day of the week. Some painters, especially with maintenance capabilities, opt to work, switching slots so that a married teammate can enjoy the holiday with his or her family.

 

I liked to work on holidays, including July 4. Such a great day: festive, informal atmosphere; light-hearted, friendly people; great food from the chef; lots of games; full occupancy; bosses more easy-going. (And the time-and-a-half pay was nice, too.)

 

Painters that work for contractors usually get off for legal holidays, including July 4. My father, for instance, worked as superintendent for a major union contractor, and also on his own. Either way, he was free to take the holiday off. And, when the 4th fell on a week-end, it was that much sweeter. “Two whole days to have Dad to ourselves.” That’s how I looked at it, as a kid.

 

And, in our family, July 4th was a big deal: a holiday celebrated together. From the time that we got up in the morning – 7 A.M. – till bedtime – 11 P.M.

 

Here’s how a typical JULY 4 played out in our family.

 

1. 7:30 A.M. – BREAKFAST

– Typical menu: Stuffed omelet, pancakes, bacon, buttered toast, orange juice, coffee (for Dad).

– Some years, we took our plates out to the patio, and ate amidst the birds, flowers and rabbits, ladybugs and deer.

2. 9:00 A.M. – GET-READY-TO-ROLL TIME.

– Pack mid-sized cooler with snacks, cans of sodas, bag of ice. Put on comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Grab four folding chairs. Stick everything into Dad’s SUV.

3. 9:30 SHARP – GET-SITUATED TIME

– Find a good parking spot in Hobart. Walk to Ridge Road or Main Street. Set up chairs and cooler at curb. Look for friends and neighbors. Wave “HI.”

4. 10:00-11:30 A.M. – HUGE JULY 4 PARADE

– Floats designed and put together by locals; school marching bands; sports teams from local schools, baton twirlers, children’s and teen gymnastic and dance groups;

– Equestrian groups, prize Arabian stallions from Wayne Pavel’s Shiloh Farms;

– Celebrities and local/state/even national politicians;

– Siren-blaring, lights-flashing police cars and fire engines. Thousands of wrapped candies and Bazooka Bubble Gum, tossed to children along the parade route.

5. 12:00 Noon – LUNCH at Nearby Park

– Watch music performers at Bandstand.

6. 1:30-4:00 P.M. – TIME TO VISIT

– Drive around and briefly visit different relatives and friends.

– Grandparents, Dad’s favorite uncle and family, more housebound relatives.

– Some years, we joined a large picnic at a family friend’s home.

7. 5:00-6:00 P.M. – HOME-AND-RECOUP-TIME

– Family pitched in and cleaned out cooler and put leftover snacks and drinks away from activities earlier in the day.

– Take our time taking care of a few chores, feeding twin puppies and Donna’s gerbil.

– Resting or playing outdoors.

8. 6:00-6:30 P.M. – LIGHT DINNER/SUPPER – often on patio.

– Featured “make-your-own” sandwiches, also tossed salad, chips, homemade cookies, and chilled ice tea (made with real spearmint leaves).

9. 6:30-7:30 P.M. – INDIVIDUAL TIME

– Family talk-fest around kitchen table, or on patio.

– Board game, game of 500 Rummy.

10. 8:00 P.M. – GET-READY-TO-GO-AGAIN TIME

– Pack snacks and drinks, change clothes and put on comfortable shoes again, grab warm jackets or sweaters. Oh yes: Also seat cushions.

– Head for Hobart High School’s Football Field.

11. 9:00-10:00 P.M. – BIG TIME AND EAR-SHATTERING FIREWORKS SHOW!

– Find good spot (? hard bleachers)  with close family friends, near old classmates and neighbors;

– Seated within seeing distance of neighbors, even co-workers, boss, local doctors and families.

–  A great, feel-good way to end a July 4th holiday at home.

12. 10:15 P.M. – HEAD for HOME

– Ringing/deafened ears, tired feet, sore hind-end and muscles, little upset stomach.

– Exhausted, sleepy.

13. 10:40 P.M. – HOME and BED!

 

OUR AWAY-FROM-HOME JULY 4 CELEBRATIONS

 

1. When my sister and I were young, we spent a few July 4 week-ends with our grandparents in southern Indiana. At 9:30 A.M. on the Fourth, we gathered at the curb. Then we watched Linton’s award-winning parade. Even big-name celebrities and politicians vied to ride in that parade.

 

2. When Donna and I entered our teen years, our family took 10-12 day vacations during July 4-time.

* Several times, we stayed on Lake Wawasee, in the great cottage of a family friend. On the 4th, we watched the huge Water/Flotilla Parade, then awesome on-the-water fireworks. There, Dad and Mom taught my sister and me to water-ski.

– Wawasee, located near Syracuse, Indiana, was the summer home of Eli Lilly, aeronautical inventor George E. Manis, insurance magnate Peter Heller, etc.

– The lake also served as location of United Methodist’s Church largest summer camp and retreat and Catholic church’s largest training center and retreat for priests and monks.

– The lake was site of famed “Chinese Pagoda Garden,” a privately-owned replica of the Royal garden.

* Several times, we vacationed at Lake Maxinkuckee. There Dad taught his two teens to handle an inboard cruiser. Note: Famed, private Culver Military Academy was located nearby.

 

Point Is: July 4th was about family. Hanging out together, and because all four of us wanted to do that. In my fifties now, and basically fatherless since 1993, I appreciate more than ever those July 4ths with our entire family. Somehow, it makes every 4th, as an adult, very valuable.

 

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MESSAGE: Do-the-Time this July 4. And, do it with family – by birth, design, or choice.

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Copyright July 1, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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