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NOT FOR NUTHIN’ - Back to work — I need a rest

Vacations have been around as long as people have worked and wanted a little R&R. Pharaoh kicked back, removed his headdress and let the sandals hang loose, Caesar rested between chariot races and Henry VIII took vacation breaks between each merry wife. But the official start dates back to about the 17th century. As aristocrats felt the need to partake in rest and relaxation after a grueling schedule of riding their workers into the ground and watching all the commoners struggle to stay alive, vacations proliferated.

All that pressure takes its toll, you know.

The gentry usually took time away from the manor seeking medical and restorative treatments — a trip to the hot springs, a walk on the beach to breathe deep the fresh sea-salt air ... ah, to run one’s toes through the sand sent shivers down their very straight-laced Victorian backs. And of course, they often went to enjoy myriad balls where the haves were to be seen by all the other haves and be served by the have-nots. So what else is new?

Children, unless they were rich, did not figure prominently into the vacation theme at all, until the 20th century, just about the time child labor laws went into effect. Children, it seems, were lower than the commoners when it came to taking time off. With the addition of children into the vacation equation, the birth of the school vacation was close at hand. Children needed to rejuvenate from the heavy load of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Not for nothing, but I really think that school vacations arose more from the need of the teachers to get away from the little darlings than the need of the little darlings to get away from the three R’s.

So here I sit, returning from my own five days of idle vacation time, and think back on my restorative week away. Okay, so I didn’t exactly rest: I completed a total fall cleaning from top to bottom. There were no long walks on the beach, but there were long walks in the supermarket. There were no balls (just a luncheon or two) and certainly there were no visits to the mineral springs — but there was a large purchase of Poland Spring bottled water.

Ah what delight: to be home with my honey for a whole week. My husband also had vacation! Wasn’t I the lucky one?

I slept in (6:30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.) and was able to decorate for the autumnal season. Now my house is sparkly clean and resplendent with silk leaf garlands, pumpkin orange lights in the front window and the smell of spice and cinnamon wafting through the home.

My husband, of course, enjoyed his vacation, but it was not nearly as restful as mine. With due diligence, his days off were spent studying the newspapers, watching TV, sleeping late every day to recover from all his time reflecting on the pros and cons of the present fiscal crisis (ours, not the Fed's) and making sure that I had enough to keep me occupied.

So am I glad to be back at work? Heck yeah. I work a lot less when I’m working than when I’m on vacation.

E-mail “Not for Nuthin’” at JoannaD@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.

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