Hats off to those who work holidays

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On Monday morning, I went to Walmart to buy some cookies. It was Labor Day, so the store was much more crowded than it normally would be on a Monday. People whizzed past me with carts full of food and various household items. I saw one woman pushing one cart in front of her and pulling another behind her. It seemed she had saved all her shopping for her one day off.

Before looking at all the yummy baked goods, I picked up a prescription at the pharmacy. There was a line in front of me, and it seemed some people were becoming agitated because of the wait. I could understand that a little, because I didn't expect that many people to be at Walmart on a holiday. Soon enough, it was my turn. The pharmacy tech looked tired but she didn't show it. She rung up my order with a smile and wished me well. I couldn't help but think that she must be missing her family.

I moved on to the bakery, where there were way too many baked goods to choose from. I had been tasked with providing dessert for our office cookout. The cookout has become a tradition at Carroll County News, because we have to work on Mondays to put the paper out regardless of a holiday. Earlier this year, our esteemed photographer -- and wonderful friend -- David Bell decided he'd start cooking burgers when we had to work on a holiday. He asked the rest of us to bring condiments, vegetables, chips, soda and dessert. Of course we complied. Who doesn't love a good cookout, especially on a day when it's kind of expected?

At past cookouts, I've brought chips. Managing editor Scott Loftis is especially fond of Cool Ranch Doritos, if you were wondering. On Monday, I decided to bring two different kinds of cookies: chocolate chip and M&M chocolate chip. It took me longer to make that decision than it should have. As I walked to one of the checkout aisles, I realized it was going to take a while before I could purchase the cookies. Every aisle had a fairly long line, and everybody had a pretty full cart. I had 20 items or less, but that aisle was crowded, too.

I settled on an aisle and started waiting. I noticed that the woman behind me had a cart full of hamburger and hot dog buns. She said she was having a cookout, too, but later on in the day. She explained that she had bought hamburger patties and hot dogs in bulk but forgot to get any buns.

"You kind of need those," she laughed.

A woman in the aisle next to me told me to get in front of her, saying I had only two items and she had a cart full. I agreed. Finally, I placed the cookies near the cash register. The young woman ringing me up smiled and asked how my day was going. It was going well, I said. I told her about the office cookout. She said that sounded fun.

As I left, it struck me how lucky I am to enjoy working on a holiday. I got to spend the day eating hamburgers and cheesecake with my friends and doing a little work in between. That's not true for everyone. Many people spend holidays working with few breaks. Even if the day goes well, there's surely another place they'd rather be.

To those of you who spent Labor Day at work, I appreciate you. It's people like you who helped me pick up my prescription and buy those cookies for CCN's Labor Day cookout. It's people like you who were there for others in emergency situations. Thank you for giving up your holiday to make sure everyone else had a good one. Our community is blessed to have you.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com