“It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything.”

Labor Day is the proverbial end of summer. I remember the now outdated fashion rule of not wearing white after Labor Day. I remember lamenting this was the last day of freedom, but I also remember being a bit excited about the new school year. The tradition was to barbecue, sort of a last salute to summer. I had to take a bath on a Monday. School dictated cleanliness. It was difficult to go to bed early, but my mother demanded it. Being sent to bed, however, wasn’t the same as sleeping. That took a while. Morning meant an early wake-up, a quick breakfast, new clothes and the walk to school. Everything was familiar. It was the same every year.

The real meaning of Labor Day has been blurred. It was first celebrated in the early 1880’s as a day to honor laborers, “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”Β The first states to recognize the day were Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, Colorado and New Jersey. It became a holiday in 1884 and was a day for parades and speeches, all meant to honor workers and the contributions of the American labor movement.

Most stores are open today. Municipal and federal buildings and properties like the dump are closed as are banks and those schools which had opened last week. When I was a kid, nothing except maybe a corner store was open. I wish it were that way now.

Today is a beautiful day, sunny and warmer than it has been. I’m thinking I need deck time. I need to bank a few warm days to remember when winter comes and rears its ugly head. I have chicken I can defrost so maybe I’ll even barbecue. I do have to go out for animal food, but that’s it for the day, my only chore, my only to do list item.

When I lived in Ghana, we didn’t celebrate most holidays. We did celebrate the big ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas and one year I celebrated New Year’s Eve at the home of the ambassador to what was then Upper Volta and is now Burkina Faso. We had to work on Thanksgiving, but we did have dinner with turkey and all the fixings. We also added chickens to the menu. Christmas was our biggest holiday. We had gifts, decorated a tree and eat a special dinner. We never celebrated Labor Day. I don’t even think we remembered it.

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8 Comments on ““It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We have our labour day at May first so no connection to either school start, a day off from work or end of summer πŸ™‚ but autumn is sure here now. It has rained since lat last evening and just as it stopped a new cold front with more rain is passing by again πŸ™‚
    I now have three radiators running.

    It is the same with our day though, most stores are open, back in teh days no one dared to have any tiny store open on May first, no one would have come anf bought anything after that.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      I hate coming to the time when I have to turn on the heat. It was almost time the other day so I put on a sweatshirt. It will be warm this week, a fitting goodbye to summer.

      When I was a kid, Sunday and all the holidays were special and no stores were open. Massachusetts was one of the last hold outs because of what they called Blue Laws. Now Sunday and most holidays, but not Christmas, are like any other days.

      Sta warm and have a great evening!

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Labor Day was always the last fling before school started. It was the last barbecue of the summer season. I think we didn’t start until the Wednesday, though, so there was Tuesday to get everything organized. This year the kids don’t go back until Thursday and my town is later than most. The girl next door went back to college yesterday as did a friend’s daughter. I saw their posts on Facebook.

    Labor Day reminds me to notice the changes in the air. The light is noticeably different because the sun is so much farther south than it was in July and August. It’s a fall light. The birds aren’t gathering up dog hair to line their nests. The starlings are gathering in bigger and bigger flocks. This morning, while walking the dogs, I saw four hawks soaring overhead in the circling pattern they use to find thermals. They were headed south.

    It’s a lovely day up here. Sunny, warm, cool breeze blowing. I think I need an ice cream run to celebrate. πŸ™‚

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      When I taught, school started on Wednesday and Tuesday was teacher meeting day. Only a couple of cape towns started last week: most are this week. My neighbor goes back to college tomorrow. We didn’t go until the middle of September.

      I notice the changes also. It gets darker so much earlier. The light from the sun seems sharper, less diffused. The birds are eating up a storm. The feeder I filled two days ago is nearly empty again.

      It is also lovely here. The breeze is a brisk one and is chilly on my back from the open window.

      Have a wonderful evening!

  3. Bob Says:

    Unfortunately, the true meaning of Labor Day has been deluted as the labor movement has been neutered in this country. Legislation such as, “Right to Work” laws, a real misnomer, and other anti labor laws which have been passed throughout the sun belt states have reduced wages and workplace safety rules. Workplace injuries have skyrocketed in non Union auto plants in States like Alabama. Republicans have spent the last 70 years defeating the power of labor unions which has increased the wage gap between top corporate managers and their workers. Now we our left with just another three day weekend to get drunk at the lake or have a picnick to mark the traditional end of summer. Now we can look forward to the beginning of the holiday shopping craziness that begins earlier every year.

    This has been a lazy weekend and I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Today is another clear sky with a high temperature in the mid nineties.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      The states with the strongest labor unions are also the states with the highest minimum wage. In the South, the minimum wage is much less than the national average, and the south has the smallest percentage of union workers. The states with the most unions are New York, Hawaii and Alaska.

      A piece responsible for the smaller numbers of union workers is the lack of manufacturing jobs which used to have the highest numbers of workers.

      It is a wonderful day today with sun and a temperature in the low 70’s.

      • Bob Says:

        I’m reminded of the story of Henry Ford II showing Walter Ruther, head of the UAW, a new plant with beginning automation. Henry said “Walter one of these days we will have a 100% automated plant and you will have no one to unionize”. Walter replied, “That’s very nice Henry, how many Fords will each of those machines buy in their lifetime?”

        A good Labor Day story.

        I wonder what will happen when ‘AI’ enabled machines take over all the jobs? I’m not worried because by that time I will be long dead.

        “Open the pod doors Hal”. “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that”. Closer than we think.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I read a story in the paper of a robot which looked a bit like R2D2 which patrolled a mall. Security wasn’t happy but it was pointed out the machine couldn’t arrest. I figure that too is coming.

        I’m always quoting Hal.


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