Working on the Holidays

There has been a lot of backlash lately against retailers being open on Thanksgiving in the United States, and I’ll admit, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Scrooge-like corporate executives who fear making a little less profit because they’ve given their employees some time with family. However, even if every retailer remained closed on Thanksgiving, there are a lot of people who would have to work, and I’m truly grateful for them. Some of those folks are pretty obvious, such as the doctors and nurses who work in the Emergency Room, fire crews, and utility workers. Will you be watching one of the big Thanksgiving ball games or perhaps the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Marathon? If so, be grateful for the people running the television stations and keeping the Internet up and running. Speaking of those games, there are the people who keep the stadiums clean, run the concessions, and sell tickets.


As it turns out, Kitt Peak National Observatory does not close down for Thanksgiving either. The universe doesn’t take the day off, and neither do the astronomers who study it. This year, I lucked out and my schedule gave me the entire Thanksgiving weekend off work, which is a nice change of pace. I’ve had plenty of years where I’ve had to work all of the weekend or part of it. The photo above is from Thanksgiving 2013, when my daughter kept me company in the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope’s control room. The observer, Dr. Louise Edwards, was working remotely from Yale University taking spectra using the computer. Dr. Edwards communicated with us using Skype and it actually provided a neat opportunity for my daughter to interact with a woman who not only works in the sciences, but was featured on a Canadian postage stamp.

This brings me to one last group—those who work on the holidays simply because they enjoy it. I may have the weekend off from the observatory, but I’m in the home stretch of working through edits on The Astronomer’s Crypt and I have an exciting story idea that brings members of the Clockwork Legion and the Scarlet Order together that’s clamoring for me to write. Yeah, I’ll be making some quality time to hang out with family and friends, but you can bet that I’ll also spend some time working on these projects because, darn it, they’re fun. In fact, not getting a chance to work on these projects would almost feel like a punishment.

Another thing I enjoy is getting out to meet all of you. Because of that, I plan to be in Tucson on Saturday, November 28 at Bookmans on Speedway Boulevard from noon until 2pm for Tucson Writes. November is Shop Local-Give Local Month and Bookmans is celebrating by bringing in a number of local authors to sell and autograph their books. This is a great way to do some shopping for the holidays and get to know many local authors. I’ll have copies of all my novels there. If you’re in Tucson next weekend, I hope I’ll see you there!

4 comments on “Working on the Holidays

  1. Gary W. Davis says:

    I have to confess I hope you will be busy editing The Astronomer’s Crypt over the Thanksgiving holiday. I look forward to that novel! Try adding an “immense spider web” to the Crypt for spooky effects. I found out this fall that large spider webs are a must for winning Halloween yard contests.

    A great Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    • If all goes well, I actually hope to have The Astronomer’s Crypt finished before the holiday so I can work on this other idea I have kicking around. 🙂

      I’m afraid there aren’t any immense spiderwebs in The Astronomer’s Crypt. In my experience, the spiders all hide when the big storms come and the monsters come out to play…

      Happy Thanksgiving, Gary!

  2. I work at a Bed and Breakfast. Unless the Inn is entirely devoid of people to serve, one has to stay for the holidays. I usually volunteer; a lot of my blood relatives are at least 700 miles away, so I figure there’s no point.
    It’s not such a bother. Unless I have endless cycles of people telling me that it’s so horrible that I’m ‘forced’ to work the holidays, then promptly tell me to order them a cab. Ah, customers…

    • I have to say, working on Thanksgiving can actually be a nice, quiet time to work. Fortunately at the observatory, there’s often a sense of camaraderie about working on the holiday. We’re all in it together and we’re all away from our families, so we make the best of it. Hopefully you don’t get too many of the people who feel it’s horrible your ‘forced’ to work the holidays this year.

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