Laboring

Yesterday was Labor Day. I’ve told you that my mother always gloomily told us that summer was half over on the Fourth of July. Well, with a nod to my mother, despite the fact that fall doesn’t officially arrive until the Autumn Equinox that this year is on September 23, in my mind Labor Day is the end of summer. Despite the fact that the temperatures hovered near 100 degrees yesterday and I can barely stand to have a light sheet on my body at night, in my eyes, it is almost winter.

Court told me this weekend that his favorite time of year is September 15 to October 15. I know he isn’t speaking in absolutes but I still laughed at his optimism. Nights don’t necessarily cool down on September 15 each year and while snow often falls in mid-October, it might be October 27 or October 12. But his point is well taken. I love when the temperatures at night cool down.

And I KNOW someone who is looking forward with great anticipation to using his new fire pit when the temperatures aren’t stifling.

As long as I’m talking about Labor Day, it’s the one holiday that I don’t quite understand. Memorial Day is in honor of those who died in the service of our country. Fourth of July is a celebration of our independence from those damn Brits (though I’m grateful for their mystery programs), and Veterans’ Day honors all who serve or served in the military.

But Labor Day? I know it was created to honor those who were/are laborers, and specifically those who pushed for labor unions because of the horrific working conditions of those laborers in the 1800s. According to Wikipedia (which frankly seemed as confused about Labor Day as I), told me that P. J. McGuire, vice president of the American Federation of Labor, is frequently credited as the father of Labor Day in the United States. Still, oddly, it was the state of Oregon — far, far away from New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, all infamous for the terrible working conditions of their laborers — that first officially recognized Labor Day in 1887. Oregon? Who would have thunk it? By 1894, over half of the states had created a holiday in honor of laborers. Even a date certain for Thanksgiving wasn’t created until the mid-1930s by FDR. The unions “encouraged” their members to not show up for work on the first Monday of September no matter what, so it likely seemed easier to simply formally create another occasion to eat hot dogs and drink beer.

By the way, they celebrate Labor Day in Canada on the same day as the U.S., but they spell it LABOUR. I watch so many British mysteries that it took every fiber of my being to not spell LABOR with a U throughout this blog post.

My only experience in belonging to a labor union was a short one-year stint as a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers as an employee of Safeway while living in Leadville. While I am not in any way anti-union, I will tell you that the only memory I have of being a union worker is that someone bumped me from my cushy stocking job in nonfoods, after which I was sent to lift incredibly heavy baskets of gallons of milk in the freezing dairy cases. I’m still trying to get warm.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Hold your breath, because snow is around the corner. Right Mom?

2 thoughts on “Laboring

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