Labor Day 20 Years Ago

September 4, 2000 On Labor Day John and I went out to eat in the middle of the day. I knew we couldn’t go far, because John was slated for the late shift at Borders. We both wished to avoid the tourist crowds in Port Jeff, and neither of us wanted to spend a mint on lunch. We ended up at a diner. It was surprisingly busy, with people constantly coming and going. You know the old game of “what’s wrong with this picture” where you look at a drawing and pick out an incongruous item? It dawned on me that I was looking at one of those. In a booth close to us were three Chinese people. Now I know they have to eat like all normal humans, but I can’t remember ever seeing any Chinese people in a diner before. I hope they enjoyed their hearty meal as much as we did.

My dad and I laughed about Labor Day being a holiday where half the people work extra hard serving those who have the day off. John fit in the first category, I in the second. I began the day with newspaper in bed. Forget having breakfast in bed. That’s nasty! I can’t abide crumbs in bed, and that’s what breakfast is all about. No, I’d take a newspaper any day. I showered, dressed, fetched the paper from the road and lolled on the bed reading it and working the crossword puzzle. What a way to start the day! Of course, it helps that it was Monday, and I can usually work the easiest puzzle of the week with a pen. I finished reading a book, streamlined the start-up routine of the computer, went out to eat with John and resumed reading. Meanwhile, John was serving stressed-out people at Borders. The day was stacked against book sellers. First, it was Monday which is Senior Citizen’s day. Checking proof of age adds to the check out procedure. Second, it was an overcast day. Bad weather seems to herd people into the store in droves. Third, it was a holiday and fourth, it was the day before teachers return to school. John was working the late shift, so he dealt with teachers whining that the books they wanted were sold out. He felt free to criticize them, because all the teachers we know are much more organized than that.

Grampy (brother-in-law Thom’s dad) wrote about their Labor Day:

“About Labor Day. While others take a holiday, we just keep doing what we do every day during the year. Wake up, get up, wash up, eat up, dress up, try to think what day it is and then get our get up and go started. Then it’s time for a break. And when you don’t do anything it is very hard to take a break.”

34 thoughts on “Labor Day 20 Years Ago

    1. That is something to have a baby on Labour Day! My children aimed for holidays, too. Son John $ was born on Columbus Day, back when it was celebrated on October 12. The girls came on November 11 and 12, the 11th being Veteran’s Day.

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  1. I didn’t realize John had been in the book business. A friend’s son is an executive at Barnes and Noble, now owned by a British firm and trying to return—drum roll please–to the business of selling books.

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          1. I have told him he should write a book of all the stories he tells. His being away so much was difficult and the work was stressful
            that is why he left it 5 years ago. He is just now turning 62 so can get SS along with his CG pension.

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  2. I usually start my days the same as you did that Labor Day, except instead of the Crossoword, I do the sudoku. You are right – breakfast in bed is very overrated. Way too messy!

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    1. The newspaper in NC had both a crossword puzzle and sudoku, which I enjoyed. The paper got so expensive that I gave it up. I miss doing the puzzles, but I really don’t have time for it any more.

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  3. Even coffee can slosh over the cup – best to leave it in the kitchen. I could never read in bed, no matter how good the book was, no matter how young I was, as I always nod off almost immediately. I am envious when I have seen people reading in bed with their little book lamps and I get propped up, pillow behind me – zzzzzzzzzzzs a few minutes later.

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      1. I have tried sitting on a kitchen chair to read, thinking it was not all that comfortable, but nodded off and dropped the magazine or book on the floor … the noise my neck makes when it lolls backward suddenly was a little scary, so I quit doing it. Years ago I was filling a yard waste bag and it kept collapsing and I jerked my neck somehow and couldn’t move my neck sideways … first time that happened and went to a chiropractor to get it right again. I hope that never happens again. I could not drive as I could not swivel my head.

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              1. And not narcoleptic either – I think I mentioned my classmate who was narcoleptic to you one time (in conjunction with our National Model United Nations trip). We got together to prepare for the trip and Jim warned us not to be offended if we were talking to him and he nodded off and went into a dead sleep. It happened a few times.

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  4. Holidays, just aren’t for enjoyment anymore. We;re either rushing around to sales, or having to work so others can rush around to sales.

    Maybe we should rename it “Rushing Day”, after all, we have Black Friday.

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  5. From all I’ve read, heard and OMG, sceen, not many people are doing the last thing in the order, Wake up, get up, wash up, eat up, dress up. Saw a 60 something gentleman in Underwear bottoms and undershirt putting a letter in his mailbox, mid-morning the other day. Not a pretty picture. Lots of, all times in the day, Bath Robes and P’Js. Guess it’s all labeled Covid Attire.

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