Working holiday

By Sharna Johnson

Working on Labor Day is no big deal compared to other holidays, according to Eastern New Mexico University junior Adriana Soto.

It was a little different when she worked July 4, was rushing to leave work, left her friends waiting and almost missed the fireworks.

“That affected me,” the 21-year-old said with a laugh. “I don’t really mind working on (Labor Day) as long as I have my homework done.”

A health and fitness major, Soto said she has worked part time at Something Different Grill in Portales for about a year and wasn’t missing anything by being at work Monday night.

When he’s not at his day job in the banking world, Eduardo Lopez throws on a baseball cap and does what he loves — more work.

For some, like Lopez, the Labor Day holiday is a chance to get a little extra work done.

And when the weather is nice and the job one you love, it doesn’t feel like work.

“It’s a nice day. Today’s just a perfect day,” he said Monday from his position atop a ladder along the side of Blanca’s Custom Creations for Special Occasions in Clovis.

Beside Lopez, his 13-year-old son Krystian dabbed a brush into a paint bucket and trimmed blue lettering his father was working on.

Eduardo Lopez, a business banker with Wells Fargo, said he has always loved art and years ago painted signs and murals for businesses around town until he stopped to focus on his professional pursuits.

A couple of months ago he said he started taking on painting jobs again.

Now, as soon as he leaves the office, he gets his supplies together and props his ladder, painting until the evening light is gone.

“I sit in front of a computer at work. I come out here and get lost in my painting,” he said. “I realized I missed it.”

Labor Day was created — initially by the labor unions and later adopted by the U.S. government as a celebration of the American worker — in the early 1880s.

In 1894, Congress adopted a resolution marking the first Monday in September as Labor Day, making it a legal holiday.

Lopez said he takes his son with him so they can spend time together and because he thinks its a good lesson.

“With the economy and where it went, I want to teach my kids there’s always something to do on the side,” he said.

Krystian said enjoys helping his father and he likes to paint.

For Randy Pruitt, Monday was crunch day as he tried to get his new car lot on 21st Street ready to open Tuesday.

While his father, James Pruitt, scraped paint and dried tape from the windows of his rented building, Randy Pruitt talked on the phone making arraignments for his business.

Randy Pruitt said he had been planning to open a sales and consignment lot in Clovis but his plans became rushed when he learned a property owner was going to prohibit people from parking cars for sale in a nearby parking lot.

“He was fixing to start having them all towed,” he said, so he contacted all the owners and told them they could park and sell their cars free of charge from the lot he had rented at the corner of 21st and Main Street.

“It needs a lot of work,” he said, eyeing the small white building that will serve as his office. “I had to move in a hurry.”

At Sherwin-Williams Co. on the north side of Clovis, Nathan Rasco said staying open holidays and extended store hours has become more the norm for retail companies like his.

And a working person himself, he said he appreciates when stores are open outside the regular business week so that people can take care of their errands and shopping after work.

“It’s nice to be here when people can come in and get the materials they need,” he said. “It’s like a regular day to me.”

He said he doesn’t mind being at work on a holiday, because even if it’s slow, because it gives him an opportunity to do those jobs that are hard to get to when the store is busy, such as organize the office or pull weeds in the parking lot.