Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. From the historical notes of The Writer's Almanac in today's inbox:

"The first Labor Day was celebrated one hundred and twenty-four years ago, on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The holiday was the idea of the Central Labor Union in New York City, which organized a parade and a picnic featuring speeches by union leaders. It was intended to celebrate labor unions and to recognize the achievements of the American worker.

On that first Labor Day, twenty thousand workers crowded the streets in a parade up Broadway. They carried banners that said, "Labor creates all wealth," and "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation!" After the parade, people held picnics all over the city. They ate Irish stew, homemade bread, and apple pie. When it got dark, fireworks went off over the skyline. The celebrations became more popular across the country in the next ten years. In 1894, Congress made Labor Day a national holiday."

Today, for most of us, Labor Day is the traditional end of summer and the last day before the start of the school year. It's one last chance to frolic in summer activities-- head out to the water, have a backyard barbeque, work on garden projects. We took a day trip over to Vashon Island this morning. Just to take the ferry and be on the water a bit, walk on the beach, feel like we'd really gone somewhere remote, even if it's just a 10 minute trip away. Picked bunches of juicy blackberries and will have pie for dinner.

I'm trying to resist any kind of labor, just for today. Because I know that tomorrow brings a frantic day of work, getting packed to set up the Puyallup Fair show on Wednesday morning. Plus sending out the fall newsletter, updating the website, and having the whole new season begin with a bang. I'm ready, sort of. I have the pieces in place for the most part, I'm just mentally resisting what I know will be the increased pace of the next few months.

Labor. The satisfaction of a well-done job, through the sweat and toil of your own efforts. The gratification of a completed project, done painstakingly by your own hands. I hope we can all continue to honor that, and the hardworking people who labor in their jobs every day. Cheers to the working folks. Hopefully they didn't have to work today.