Labor Day Weekend: A Reflection

Since nothing peaked my interest this week other than the appalling legislation and blatant disregard for women’s rights by the US Supreme Court which I won’t dignify by discussing in a blog, Of course, I don’t want vigilantes protesting my free speech in my well-manicured front yard either. Thus, I looked inward. Certainly, the realities of COVID have not only turned our lives upside down but have caused many of us to be alone much of the time. With five dogs, I’m not really alone, but they rarely engage me in conversation. I thought about my childhood September Holiday weekends and conclude I hated Labor Day weekend!

Hate, a very strong word, but hated them I did! First, it was the end of the garden season at our family farm. Soon Jack Frost would kill off the remaining unripe tomatoes and decimate the sweet corn and beans. Because of the looming fall weather, the weekend was spent picking, shucking, grinding, canning, and freezing. Once I spent both Sunday and Monday shucking lima beans and vowed to never eat another. On another, I ground several bushels of tomatoes for juice–a strenuous activity for fancy electric juicers weren’t available then.

Secondly, the largest Ohio county fair was held from Wednesday through Labor Day. On several occasions, I had to go on Labor Day to help my father close down the Dental Society’s booth. It was sad to see the last Italian sausages and cotton candy be sold and think it would be a whole year before I could eat greasy French fries with malt vinegar.

But most importantly, Labor Day signaled a major change in my life, for on Tuesday I would be back in school. My carefree, daydreaming summer days were over. No more fishing, nor more sandlot softball games, no more walks in the creeks of Mill Creek Park. No more rocket ship rides at the amusement park, no more sleepovers, no more picnics at the farm. The clear blue skies were now cluttered with big puffy white clouds suggesting fall had begun, and in Ohio that meant there could be snow for Halloween and certainly before Thanksgiving. Oh God, how many days of school would I have to endure before Thanksgiving or Christmas break?

I suspect it must be curious to you that a 50-year, career veteran of education detested going to school. (In fact, it wasn’t until I went to high school it became palatable.) I think it was simply my feelings of confinement, of monotonous routine, of abject boredom. Now believe me, I wasn’t smart and found I knew everything the teacher taught–not the case whatsoever. I was just a dreamer and an anti-boxer–I never had to think outside the box because I had none. School was simply something I endured, so I could move on to more exciting things.

Thankfully, my own children never learned of my disdain for Labor Day because Arizona schools have been in session for a month. Happy New Year to my Jewish friends and best wishes to those who start their school year tomorrow.

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