Time Gone?
Off the Wall, Sept 04, 2009

When I sat down in front of the computer and began thinking just how I was going to write about the upcoming holiday, many things went through my mind. After all, much has changed for a number of people since one year ago. Several who may have been looking to a three-day weekend vacation celebrating Labor Day aren’t gainfully employed. Of consequence, they may have mixed emotions.

Of course, this retiree considers it just another day in one sense. In another, I am positive about one fact. I will be turning the page of my life’s journey becoming one year older, the mighty 66. Where has the time gone?

Over the years, I have always kidded people when my birthday was brought up. When they asked for the date my reply would be, “I was born on Labor Day. Just ask my mother!”

Now, I don’t know how many others could say that, but I am certainly one. Here again, in giving thought to that time many moons ago, while most everyone was celebrating and relaxing, I can name one person who was doing exactly the opposite. And of course, I thank her for that, for if I hadn’t been born, you wouldn’t be reading the columns my fingers produce on this keyboard in this fine newspaper.

So, a number of comments come to mind – first of which is always, “Thanks Mom for bringing me into the world. And thanks also to you, Dad, as well, for both of you doing your very best you could to raising me up until such time as I left the nest and discovered life on my own. So, that was the first subject that came to mind.

Second, it is the time of the year that is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of summer. That troubles me in a big time, bad time way. In short, I hate winter! Fall is OK to a certain extent, but you can have the cold. If I could just bottle it up and sell it to get rid of it, I’d probably be living on top of the hill rather than down quite a ways.

Third, it was always a time of the year that after the holiday, students would be going back to school – never before. An elderly lady approached me the other day and we briefly talked. She told me she was simply amazed the kids would be starting back to school before Labor Day. “Can you believe that?” she exclaimed.

Fourth, in as much as school has started around this time. I know it is something to which most students from kindergarten to collegians look forward. I can honestly say I wasn’t one of them. But in hindsight, I wish I would have applied myself a little more. I may have been more of an achiever in my high school days.

I could dwell more on each of those subjects, I guess, but let’s get to the subject at hand – Labor Day.

According to Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia, “The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union of New York City sought to create a day off for the working citizens. Congress made it a federal holiday on June 28, 1894. All U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.”

“Today, Labor Day,” the website revealed, “is often regarded as a day of rest and parades.” My question is “Whatever happened to Saturday or Sunday as being the days of rest? After all, the Holy Scriptures read, ‘Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.’ Hmmmm…”

I guess not everyone defines the word “rest” the same. I decided to go on www.dictionary.com and see what it had to offer as far as a definition for this word. There were two that I liked – The first is “Refreshing ease or interval inactivity, solitude or tranquility.” Sounds like words from a novel. “And there lay Jonathan, eyes closed, lying his mother’s couch, being caught up in the moment of interval inactivity.” Don’t have room to continue today, maybe some other time.

And second, more importantly, “Relief or freedom from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.” In my opinion, that what this holiday is really all about. For those who are still blessed with having jobs, this is their time to do their own thing, whether it’s cooking out, fishing, boating on the local waters, or watching parades and activities planned for that day, it is theirs to enjoy. May they be thankful for these jobs as well. This is time off they so rightfully deserve.

My hats off to all American who have worked so hard to strengthen our economy!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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