Please know I have no problem with honoring our nation’s workforce; they earned it. Further, I do know the first Monday in September has been a national holiday for 123 years. However, as a child I loathed Labor Day, for it signaled the end of summer. My world screeched to a standstill.
The city swimming pools closed, the amusement park went on hiatus, and the wonderful county fair was over. By Tuesday, the pools would be drained, the park concessions shuttered, and the fair carnies would disassemble their rides and head south.
The weather noticeably changed; soon all of the trees would shed their leaves, and I’d be helping rake them. Then winter would come, and months would pass without sunshine. No green grass, no flowers, naked trees–I found it depressing.
Yet, the worst thing about Labor Day was that Tuesday I’d have to go back to school! I didn’t hate school, but I did find it stifling. In my era, school was highly regimented. I found it absurd the older I got that we had regularly scheduled bathroom breaks. As a fourth grader, I absolutely knew if I had to go to the restroom. I didn’t need to line up in the hall, march downstairs in the girl’s line to the potty. (The boys had their own line on the opposite side of the hallway, and the teacher sashayed down the middle.) It was so stupid and rather insulting to be led like cattle to the loo.
I kept a calendar counting down the days to my first break. Thanksgiving was an eternity; Christmas was eons. In the meantime, I suffered through the humility of having my paper torn up in front of the class due to my poor handwriting. I slogged through math. I weathered my weekly flutophone class. I consciously programmed myself to not pee on demand; my sole act of defiance against the system.
Fortunately, in Phoenix, I no longer dread Labor Day where I swim in the pool, grill a rib-eye, and knosh on salad. However, when I shopped the grocery Labor Day specials this week, I was a tad miffed pork, baby back, ribs were buy 1, get 2 free. WTF? What’s a Lone Ranger suppose to do with 12 pounds of ribs? Shuffle off, Labor Day.