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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

9/7/16

Judy Bluhm

How was your Labor Day? Mine was pretty good because I didn’t lift a finger. No work, cooking or cleaning. Okay, so I did take care of the horses but that is about it. I suppose that is a “labor of love.” Let’s face it, Labor Day requires that we, the working blokes, rest and relax. Even if you are retired, you can feel proud of all those hours you logged in and celebrate by doing nothing. I love this holiday! Originated over a hundred years ago, it is one of the few national holidays that was created for no man, war or religion, but for the common working stiff – you and me.

Maybe Labor Day is an American holiday that celebrates the very thing that Americans do best. We work hard! Other countries take longer vacations, shorter work weeks and see nothing wrong with closing up shops for months at a time! Germany has invoked a law that an employer cannot contact an employee about any job related issues after 6 p.m. and never on weekends! I am not making this up. Some people in foreign countries are actually pampered. Feeling stressed? In France, you might get to go to a ten-day spa in order to rejuvenate. Tax dollars pay for this. Hmm, so very un-American.

Most folks think that Labor Day has lost its true meaning. It has become just another shallow three-day weekend and an excuse for more retail sales. Over the years, Labor Day has been about anything but labor and to most represents the end of summer, start of football, beginning of school and one last barbecue. Gone are the days of large parades honoring the “working people” who would march around town squares proudly displaying banners of their respective jobs and trades.

When Labor Day originated it was to recognize the back-breaking work, long hours and measly wages that many Americans put up with just to survive. The working conditions were pretty rough for the labor force who were out there digging ditches, building bridges, railways, schools and roads. Labor Day was created in honor of the American workforce who built this country’s infrastructure.

Yes, we Americans like to shop, have three day weekends and enjoy one last blast to “honor” the end of summer. That’s okay. We still deserve a shout out from our employers or government in the form of a paid day off that basically says “thanks” for the difficult, boring, mundane, thrilling, and/or important work that we all do.

Labor Day also signified the absolute cut-off for wearing white shoes or pants. Of course, fashion has changed and now it doesn’t seem to matter. Well, maybe it does if you live back East. Come to think of it, I don’t see many people wearing white shoes unless they are tennis shoes. The real pleasure of Labor Day is that it ushers in autumn, with the promise of cooler days, longer nights, fewer weeds to cut and no more dust storms. I don’t care if I ever see another haboob! Bring on Fall!

Hope your Labor Day was completely relaxing. Psychologists claim that a “good, long weekend” can have lingering positive health benefits for about a month or two. Maybe until the next long weekend we can all feel refreshed. Oh, and go ahead, keep wearing white and dare to do nothing every now and then. It is good for the body and soul. But please don’t think about all the hours you have toiled in your life since that could be upsetting. Dear Readers, hopefully you can enjoy the “fruits of your labor” all year long!
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.