It is the Labor Day weekend and Monday is a federal holiday honoring workers. Congress passed an act on the 28th June 1894 making the first Monday of September official.
When I was a youngster summer began for us the day school let out for the summer, somewhere around the 14th of June, and we were off and running, no school until fall, no homework, no classes, no teachers just time to play. Fishing, swimming, camping, playing in the woods, playing ball, and hanging out with friends suddenly it was the 4th of July, hot dogs on the grill, potato salad, baked beans, soda pop, and to top it off a parade with military, fire trucks, and military marching bands followed by a huge fireworks display and the grownups declaring that summer was drawing to a close. July was followed by the “Dog Days of Autumn” hot days in the sun, hot nights, and occasional thunder storms.
Camping out and cooking over an open fire, telling jokes and scary stories, and as we got older we talked about girls and jobs. Suddenly it was the Labor Day weekend and summer was ending. For my family it meant one last Saturday night jubilee except we held it on Sunday night. The grownups would roll back the rug in the parlor, my grandmother would finish cleaning up from dinner and making sandwiches and snacks, then she would sit down at the piano, my father would pull out his trumpet, Uncle Ed would set up his drums, we had a banjo player, a few would play the jug, some even sang, Joe Venice would use his beer bottle as a microphone and sing “Hello Dolly” alla Louis Armstrong. We kids were allowed to stay up late eating snacks, lots of popcorn popped in the fireplace and drizzled with lots of butter, and drinking pop, playing ring toss, pinball, and shuffleboard while the adults played poker and danced into the wee hours of the night. One by one we youngsters would succumb to the sandman and fall asleep. Yes we filled every minute with fun, never aware that we were busy growing, forming our characters, building our bodies, forming friendships, learning life’s lessons and preparing for life. Morning was up early, breakfast, followed by a lot of goodbye hugs and kisses as everyone went home, back to work, school, and sharing stories of the latest summer of our lives.