Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day

Don't you find it funny that most Sundays, the Sabbath, the day of rest, is the day that many of us run errands, do housework, do work work; in short, we do anything but rest. Tomorrow is Labor Day and most of us will do anything but labor -- we will sleep in, putz around the grill, cook an easy meal with an easy clean-up.

Labor Day marks a transition of seasons -- from Summer to Fall. When I was very young, Labor Day was the last day before school started. At the ready were my new shoes for school, new school supplies, perhaps some new clothes. The more fashionably minded among us mark Labor Day as the end of the time for wearing white shoes, white jackets, most all things white.

I think about the labor of my parents. Arden, my dad, was a meat-cutter for all of his working life. Dad worked 6 full days a week for much of my life. Then he began taking Wednesdays off (in addition to Sunday). As I used number 2 pencils to fill in the circles in elementary school testing, I didn't know how to answer demographic questions -- is your father a blue-collar or a white collar worker? Well, my dad wore a black tie and a white shirt to work every day. But I was told that he was a blue-collar worker. This was quite confusing to this second grade daughter.

Yvette, my mom, worked behind a desk. This was most unusual for a mother of the 50's and 60's. But the elementary school testing didn't ask anything about her. In the demographic questioning, Mom's work didn't matter, didn't amount to anything, according to this survey. Yet, clearly they labored and they taught me well about laboring.

So, there was the line between the "blue-collar" and the "white-collar"; and there was the line between the work of the 'husbands" and the "wives." In my 7th grade classroom there was the line between the Christians, and Pat Moses, the one Jew. Such a very large number of lines to define us.

May we all "rest" on "Labor" Day


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