September 11 – Why Labor Day? How about No Labor Day?

     Labor day is over, thank goodness.  It’s a holiday that marks a lot of changes where I live.  For example, hurricane season is about half over.  Hurricane season is something you feel a lot better worrying about as it goes away, rather than the dread of facing the season’s start.  Its one of those least worst situations; like voting for a politician in an election. 
     After Labor Day, cool weather is on the way.  Hooray.  Anticipating that makes me smile.  Human’s think they suffer in the heat.  They moan and groan like a bunch of puppies whose mother has decided to shut down the milk bar for a while.  I’d like those two-legged complaint machines to walk around in a full-length fur coat like mine, during August, and watch them swelter.   
     Ahhh changes!  We’ll have less rain, less mosquitoes, less humidity, more camping trips, more people returning to the ‘hood, and more time outdoors. 
     It marks change all over as I understand.  Other parts of the country see changes in their weather, kids go back to school, and humans change what they wear.   People are getting ready for elections that they hope will make changes.  Why, I’ve even noticed that some folks sigh and become more business-like in everything they do after Labor Day.
     I’ve wondered, why do they call the holiday Labor Day?  No body works on that day.  Why not call it No Labor Day?  Or something more appropriate like, Things Are Going To Change Day?”  The name didn’t make sense to me.  Human’s do many strange things, like throwing away perfectly good bones or driving four blocks to the store for a loaf of bread, then spending a half hour on an exercise machine to lose weight, so little they do surprises me.  Or should…….
     Though I should have known better, I decided to ask the Geezer, “Why do you humans call the first Monday in September, Labor Day?”
     The Geezer grinned, “Lets see, Sandy.  The simplest way to explain it to you is that its a day set aside to honor the working man.”
     I hate it when someone who isn’t any more intelligent than I am “talks down” to me!  You know, like when a politician speaks to you humans.  I fired back, “Oh, how about working women?  How was it set aside?  Did you do it with a bulldozer?  Crane?  What?”
     “Sorry Sandy.”  The Geezer had his I stepped in it this time look firmly affixed to his face.  Unlike a politician, the Geezer is smart enough to know when he’s insulting the individual he’s addressing.  “I owe you a decent answer.  You have to know a little history to understand why they named it Labor Day.  Mind?”
    I sat down, swept one paw across my chest and bowed at the same time.  “Proceed,” I said and resigned myself to one of the Geezer’s long-winded dissertations.
     “It originated back in the 1880’s.”  The old boy changed his look to his Geezerpedia countenance.  “There was a lot of turmoil between labor, business, and government.  Trouble boiled over and some union people were killed by government forces.  Grover Cleveland was president and he wanted to defuse the strife.  He quickly ran a bill through Congress declaring a holiday to recognize “the contributions that labor makes to our country.”  Eventually, the September date chosen was one celebrated by a New York union.  It became the national holiday we celebrate today.  It was supposed to be day of rest and relaxation.  Parades and speeches were a big part of the celebration in its early years, but they’ve faded.  The picnics, sporting events, and the last hurrah to summer just evolved.”
     “That makes sense,” I observed.  “Well partly.  A lot of the things you humans do on that day aren’t rest and relaxation.  Running in races, swimming, playing volleyball, and things like that are…. strenuous.”
     “Remember what Mark Twain said.”  The old boy likes to quote Twain.  The writing giant is one of the Geezer’s favorites.  “Work is what one is obliged to do and play is what one desires to do.”  The Geezer did his best to look literary.  “That’s why sitting at a desk doing accounting is considered work, while risking life and limb in a strenuous effort to climb a mountain is considered play.”  The literary aire faded and he looked like plain old Sam Clemons when he added, “That’s probably not the exact quote, but you can go to Tom Sawyer and look it up if you want.”
     I nodded and smiled.  The more time I spend around humans, the more inconsistent and difficult they are to understand.  Straining the Geezer’s meager mental machinery wouldn’t enlighten my old friend.  How do you explain to unthinking creatures that resting means going to a big cushion and laying down, not cashing cats in the hot sun?  The strange thing is that the species can make up clever tidbits, like that Twain fellow did, that almost make sense of their weird, irrational behavior.  Marathons?  Football games?  Parades?  Yard work?  Badminton?  Is that rest?  You think?
    The Geezer did try to placate me and I appreciated that effort.  To a degree…..   I started to make a snide remark, to tell him that he was sounding like a politician, but I couldn’t do that.  There are some insults you just can’t inflict on a dog or even on a human.



2 thoughts on “September 11 – Why Labor Day? How about No Labor Day?

  1. Hey Sandy – EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer here – my mom and I miss your stories – what’s up? Hoping all is well with you and the geezer – and wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! 😉

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