by Mary Jo
It's Labor Day, and I'm laboring. <G> I need to complete a late book in the next few days (there's a plague of that amongst the Wenches!) so that means typing as fast as my inaccurate fingers can manage and hoping it makes sense. After I've transferred the book from my computer to my editor's, I shall quietly slink off the grid for a couple of weeks and not look at any electronic screens and not labor at all.
The labor of many, many people is what has built civilization and as such, it's well worth celebrating labor in genera. However, our holiday of Labor Day (Labour Day in Canada) is specifically a celebration of organized labor, which is to say unions. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed into law the bill that made Labor Day an official national holiday, though by this time, 30 states had already established Labor Day as state holidays. (Oregon was the first to do so.) The parade shown here was in 1882 in New York City.
The traditional ways of celebrating Labor Day are parades, picnics, backyard barbeques, and shopping. The drawback of it being a major shopping holiday is that people who work in retail tend to labor rather than relax but with luck, they at least get time and a half pay for working on a holiday.
Labor Day is also one of the endings to summer and beginnings of autumn. There are several ends, actually. Astronomical autumn is the fall equinox, generally about September 22, when day and night hours are virtually equal around the world. (Of course, the autumnal equinox is the spring, vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, but the day and night hours are still equal.
There is also meteorological autumn, which begins September 1st. That date belongs to the weather folk and it's when the weather starts tilting from summer to fall. (Though usually not until one last heat wave has passed!)
Gardens are making their last wild display before autumn sneaks in. My deck flowers look like vaudeville floozies, beautiful and overdone.
And then there is Labor Day, which could be called the social end of summer. Vacations are ending, students are returning to school, traffic gets heavier, and there is generally a greater sense of purpose as we settle down to Real Work.
So what are you doing this Labor Day? Laboring, shopping, marching, or best of all, spending time with friends and family even if the burgers are maybe a little charred?
And is there anything you'd rather be doing? <G>
Mary Jo, returning to her labors because "Happily Ever After" doesn't come easily!