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 I remember the now outdated fashion rule of not wearing white after Labor Day.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.” 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.