Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Meditations

Well, we celebrated yet another Labor Day week-end, and I hope you had a good one. The weather here was just perfect, and personally we had a good mix of work and pleasure. I did however, contemplate the holiday and its meanings, and decided to look up the history.

Interestingly, Oregon was the first to make Labor Day a holiday, in 1887. It became a Federal holiday in 1894.

"The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday. Towns were to hold a street parade to exhibit to the public 'the strength and esprit de corps (a feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty) to the trade and labor organizations', followed by a festival for the workers and their families. Speeches by prominent men and women were also included. Later, in 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday, and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement."

As always, it's so interesting to see the history and then look at the reality today. Very interesting to see that people are celebrating something they really don't know the meaning of. It's just a 3-day (or 4-day) week-end anymore. I don't think I want to celebrate a holiday in honor of the labor unions, do you? I have a sneaking suspicion that Peter & Julie already know this, as they started school yesterday on Monday.

As for us, we elected to work on our kitchen project on Saturday (pictures to come), and attend an outdoor church worship service and potluck on Sunday morning. After a quick nap, we had a long motorcycle ride up to Todd Lake in the Cascade Mountains, Sunday afternoon. We brought a snack, and hiked around the lake on a beautiful, warm early Sept. afternoon. The views of the Cascade mountains were stunning, and as a wonderful surprise we had acres of wildflowers. Our late summer weather has had some benefits, in that the wildflowers are still profusely blooming in the higher elevations. After a ride back, we stopped for a few tacos on the way home (fish for me and beef for the insurance guy).

As the owner of a business, the insurance man is compelled to close down the office and provide the day off for his employees. And so, we got up and headed out into our high desert for a ride on our ATV in the cooler morning. It was wonderful out there, riding through a fragrant, sweet-smelling pine forest with the Cascade mountains off in the distance. So relaxing and fun. After getting home and cleaning up, our daughter JoAnn treated us to 'Cars II' at the theater where she works. Wonderfully fun and entertaining. We had a really good week-end, and yes, did celebrate our life of labor by taking the day off. Interesting isn't it? Celebrating work, by not working? I thought I would make a list of the things I saw people doing in Central Oregon, to celebrate the day off.

  • Horseback riding

  • Swimming

  • Playing outdoor games

  • Bicycling

  • Hiking

  • Fishing (That would be Samuel's first choice!)

  • Eating (Either at a home barbecue or at a sidewalk restaurant in downtown Bend)

  • Boating

  • Birding

  • Drinking (including just sitting outside a local bar)

  • Motorcycle riding

  • Running

  • Grocery shopping

  • Golfing

  • Rafting or floating the river

  • Walking dogs

You get the idea. That is our (West Coast, resort town of Bend's) idea of Labor Day. What was yours?

1 comment:

Peter Jones said...

Interesting thoughts. Thanks for looking it up. I've thought so much this year about celebrating holidays appropriately. I didn't think through Labor Day. The import of it isn't evident, and Peter couldn't afford to miss a day of work. It seemed logical to just go ahead and start school. :)
Sounds like your weekend was lovely.