Labor Day was not a holiday in our house when we were growing up. Dad was gone a lot, working on national defense, and the times he was home were precious. So, we worked.
We worked: putting in fences, mowing, trimming, weeding, cleaning the stalls and the chicken room in the barn, washing and painting the lawn furniture, changing the brakes on the cars, mowing the field with the tractor, vacuuming, dusting, laundry. And always the looming threat of winter, especially in Colorado. It snowed on September 3, 1961. That was the year the first day of school was on September 3.
Poor Mother. She had cleaned and ironed our uniforms, polished our shoes, and made sure lunches were ready. We three girls had our hair in rag curlers and the boys’ hair was neatly trimmed. She had to dig out the winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots that night. It was snowing heavily, blowing sideways when the bus stopped in front of the house. Slipping and sliding, we made it to school.
Back to Labor Day. Starting as a protest by labor union members against intolerable working conditions in the late 1800s, it became a celebration of the working man and his accomplishments. We always celebrated by laboring.
After the new paint on the lawn furniture dried around 6 at night, Dad would barbeque hamburgers. We’d have potato salad and baked beans. We sat on the chairs, almost too exhausted to eat.
So I continue the tradition. Maybe not the physical labor repeating my childhood, but I labor. I’m spending the weekend writing about a young woman on a quest to find an amulet and, just maybe, herself and her path in life.
Happy Labor Day. May you not labor this day.