September 7, 2010

The problem with August

We always enjoy sharing the writings of our good neighbor Lorraine Collins, who pens columns regularly for the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper.   For some time now, we've suspected there was something awry with the month of August -- but we just didn't know what!  Lorraine spells it out here.  You may contact her at


A friend in Toronto called me the first Monday in August and after we had chatted for a while she expressed surprise that the first Monday is not a holiday in the United States. In Canada it's "Civic Holiday." Now, it seems to me that this is a typical Canadian practical solution to a problem. In this case, the problem is August.

August is 31 days long and there are no public holidays. Therefore, declare a "Civic Holiday." It doesn't have to commemorate any historic event, the birth or death of any great person, or anything else. Just realize that August needs a holiday and put one in. Close government offices and banks and go fishing.

Of course, I think the solution to the no-holiday problem in August is to finally make an official public holiday of Women's Equality Day which is celebrated modestly by a few on August 26th, tomorrow. It commemorates the day in 1920 when the 19th Amendment took effect after it was ratified by the last state to do so on the 18th, so women in the United States were finally  allowed to vote. This day was first proposed in 1971 by Rep. Bella Abzug of New York who managed to get Congress to declare in a Joint Resolution that August 26th is a day worthy of official commemoration.

But somehow, it has never been able to make it onto the calendar, even though one calendar in my house notes Ground Hog Day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, First Days of Spring ,Summer, Fall and Winter,  various Jewish and Christian holidays, Earth Day, Administrative Professionals Day, Armed Forces Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, as well as all of the legal holidays like President's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and so forth.

I tell you, it makes one a little paranoid to realize that calendar companies give more respect to  ground hogs than to women. However, I try not to fret about it. I know that many women suffered, were imprisoned, went on hunger strikes, were force fed, were sent to mental institutions for demanding the right to vote. But that's only 90 years ago, so I suppose we shouldn't be too impatient waiting for recognition of the sacrifices made to achieve equality.

 I also realize that there are many other worthy causes that are not on the calendar in August, though they could be if people just pushed hard enough to get them recognized. When I went online to find what various people thought we should be celebrating in August, I found that just about every day was designated to celebrate one thing or another.

It's amazing, really. There's International Left-hander's day on August 13 and there's Income Tax Day commemorating the date of the first Income Tax in the U.S. in1861. But I don't suppose there would be many patriotic parades for that one.

There are days in which we are asked to commemorate many nice things--friendship, parents, Switzerland, the Coast Guard, and even Bad Poetry Day. Personally, I think I'd skip that one. There are an amazing number of days in August devoted to recognizing food. These include days devoted to toasted marshmallows, filet mignon, potatoes, waffles, sponge cake, ice cream sandwiches, mustard, rice pudding and a host of others. I like all that stuff except mustard so I'm sorry I didn't learn of the various Days until it was too late.

I suddenly realized that August 26th is not only Women's Equality Day but also is National Dog Day, I wondered whether we could join forces to try to get on the calendar together, celebrating our mutual virtues. But when I went to the website for National Dog Day, I realized it honors dogs for offering "Love--all you want, unconditionally, forever, no contract required."

Hmm. That sounds more like Mother's Day to me.

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