"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Reflections

Awe, Labor Day.  I rarely give this holiday much thought, other than it is a three day week-end; the banks and post office are closed; and it is the “book-end” of summer. Of all the holidays, other than Halloween, it is probably the one I give the least attention.

However, I did reflect on Labor Day a few years ago, when a local photographer did a “Labor Day Photography Story” in our local paper.  It was a tribute to the workers of our state, and specifically this local area. Telling a history only through photographs, it invoked deep emotion for me. It was absolutely heart-warming, beautiful in the skill of his photography and emotional in its impact because of the way he captured the jobs that are specific to this area.  He pictured a logger, a miner, a pastor, a teacher (a home-school mom, no less) and a waitress; all simply doing what they do every day.  But he had so much captured the heart of this area through these photos, that it really had an impact on me. 

My late Uncle Frank at Sunshine Mine Memorial
Photo by my sis - LN
“Oh!” I remember thinking, “JH (the photographer) understands our state, our history, and what has made this area so great.” 

I knew the photographer personally, and the next time I saw him, I complimented him on the fine job he did on that wordless “story” in the paper.  I couldn’t express all that those photos meant to me and how much it seemed to reveal of his heart – as well as the heart of our state - through those photos. I absolutely love our area and I am so proud of our history and he had captured it with the same love and pride, it seemed. This Labor Day week-end, I find myself thinking about that photography spread and wanting to attempt to express some feelings about Labor Day.

I guess emotional thoughts started as I was leaving work Saturday afternoon.  I had had a talk with another employee there.  He was broken hearted about having to leave his job.  It was due to circumstances really that were simply out of his control and it made me sad too. 

Truck Drivin' Man
(among other things)
A stupid truck driving song came on the radio - C. W. McCall’s “Convoy” - and I can’t help it; that song always makes me cry!   Though this song is meant to be light hearted and funny, ever since I married a truck driver, I cry when I hear those truck driving songs. The impact those songs have on me will be for another post.  But…“Man [those guys] work hard!” They are really the life blood of our nation, and most of the time given very little respect. Just stop to think for a moment where we would be if those guys were ever shut down.

Traveling into church Sunday, morning, the emotions were triggered again when a fire truck raced by me as I pulled to the side of the road.  I couldn’t help but think of those guys that put their lives on the line every single day that they go to work. So little thought and prayer we give to those men and women, I would believe.

At church, my pastor was only doing what he always does, but, oh my, how that man can teach!  And though he is always passionate at what he does, his passion was especially relevant on this day. His passion was especially contagious when it needed to be.  Our pastors deserve our respect, our prayers, and our love.

God bless those that serve!
As I was leaving church, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in some time. I absolutely love this man and his family and we go back a long way when our kids were just toddlers.  He stopped to say hi and we gave each other a hug. When I apologized for not being at church for awhile because of my work schedule, he told me this would be his last time too, for awhile… he was getting deployed to some country over by Afghanistan that I can’t even spell.  Just doing what he does.  God bless him…and those that will have to wait.  More reflecting; more prayer.
Crop Duster - "A dangerous job!"

A visit to my folks and as I sat in the peacefulness of their beautiful back yard, I thought about all the years of hard work my dad and mom did to raise their kids - in this very home.  I thought about the years my dad spent serving his country in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and I thought about the other dangerous occupations he had had such as crop dusting, and cat skinning; and I am proud and thankful for the sacrifices he made. I’m thankful for the retirement years my folks have been able to enjoy, continuing to serve the Lord in untold ways. Retirement is a blessing; not a sin, as some, recently, would try to have us believe.  I’m thankful.

Labor Day’s beginnings go back to 1882 when the founder of a carpenter union, Peter J. McGuire, suggested a national holiday to honor the nation’s working people. In September of that year, the first Labor Day Parade occurred in New York City and the beginnings of a campaign to make Labor Day a national holiday was set in motion by organized labor groups.  In 1887, our neighboring state, Oregon, was the first to make Labor Day a legal holiday. It became a nation wide holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed the bill to honor the workers of America.

Hmmm, honor the workers, I will.

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