Today is a holiday here in Utah. It’s called Pioneer Day and it commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. (Only Native Americans lived here before that.) When I first moved out here, I was told I would start work on July 25th, a Tuesday, which I thought was odd, but figured there was a reason. My uncle asked me “Don’t you know why you are starting on Tuesday instead of Monday?” “No, that’s just what they told me.” And he laughed and explained that the 24th was a holiday and no one would be at the office. So life went on and last year I had the 24th off. I don’t even remember what I did. Probably something around the house. When I started working at Vérité, I was told very explicitly that I would not have the 24th off, but I had a floating holiday to make up for it. That makes sense. The school district went by what the schools did, and since Pioneer Day is an official state holiday, they had it off. We work with national clients who wouldn’t understand why we are closed one random day in July, so we don’t take it off. It doesn’t really bother me, other than the fact that EVERYTHING ELSE IS CLOSED! I can’t get office supplies delivered, it was very difficult to get a flower delivery coordinated. I had one local person call and ask for someone who was out of the office for a few days. She asked when the person would be back and I said “oh Thursday.” She laughed and said “No Thursday is the holiday.” “Oh, we don’t close for that. We have too many national clients.” And she was appalled. How could we not close for the holiday? What about the parade (yes, she asked that)? I told her “Well, I’m not from Utah, so it doesn’t matter to me.” And that was the end of the conversation.
I’ve heard some non-LDS people around here complain about how the 24th is celebrated more than the 4th. My comment is “Yeah, and?” Do you have a problem with people celebrating their heritage? If it wasn’t for those darn LDS people, you wouldn’t live here either. If you don’t like it, LEAVE! Alann and I had this conversation a few days ago. I don’t know that this particular spot would have been civilized as early or as much if it hadn’t been for the Mormon Pioneers. Same with most of the desert in the West. It took a lot of work, a lot of irrigation and technology, and I don’t know that people would have done it if they hadn’t been forced to. He thinks that someone would have settled here anyway, because it is a nice enough place, what with the mountains and the stink lake. I am just not convinced.
So happy Pioneer Day to all those celebrating. Happy regular 24th of July to all those not celebrating.