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The Madera Tribune

Setting aside a day for rest

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webmaster | 04/07/12

The Madera Tribune will close its printing plant and newsroom Sunday so employees who work in those departments can spend Easter with their families.

I can remember when it wouldn’t have been necessary to make such a decision. That was because almost all businesses closed on Sunday. That was the way things were done. If you had the temerity to decide to open on Sunday, the wrath of fellow business people, the clergy and possibly even the sheriff or the cops would come down on your head.

Some cities and counties even had Sunday closure laws. Those are laws which made it illegal to open on Sunday unless you could show there was an emergency, or a need to stay open due to public safety.

In the southeast Idaho towns where I grew up the only businesses allowed to open on Sunday were one service station and one restaurant. That was to provide travelers with places to get gasoline or a meal. There were about four service stations in town, and they would take turns opening on Sunday. The owners didn’t like staying open on Sunday, but they knew they had an obligation to passersby to provide gasoline if it was needed. The restaurants also took turns.

A doctor might go to his office on Sunday if there were an emergency.

The office of the weekly newspaper where I was an apprentice never opened on Sunday.

By the time the 1960s came along, many, perhaps even most, businesses would stay open, much as they do today.

I often wonder whether that’s an improvement. There’s a city in northern Washington State, called Lynden, that still has Sunday closure laws, and the town is known for enforcing it. The people in the town like it that way. They like having a day set aside for rest, reflection and perhaps even worship.

Happy Easter to you and yours.


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