Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day Thoughts

photo bt Franck Verval / flickr
photo by brutalSoCal / flickr
Well, looks like we get a holiday on Monday—or at least some of us. Maybe we ought to stop and remember all the folk that won’t be celebrating this day. Why? They’re working. They are keeping things going. Policeman, Grocery store employees, servers and cooks in restaurants. Order a pizza by phone—somebody will deliver it to your door on Labor Day.

The day started in the labor movement in the late 1800’s. Slowly state after state recognized this day and in June of 1894 Congress passed an act that made Labor Day officially a holiday nation wide on every first Monday in September.

So think about those folk that won’t be off. And think about those in the work force that will not be working that day—but will be back at it on Tuesday, Every once in a while, despite my wife’s embarrassment I will ask a server, flight attendant or a grocery store clerk: “What percentage of your customers are difficult?” I get different answers but they all say: “Oh, ten percent sometimes twenty.” “That high?,” I ask, They nod their heads and say: "Yes."
photo by jankie / flickr

Some wise person said you can tell the character of a person by how they treat those that serve them in any way. I told a church secretary this week, “You know what I missed most in retirement—my Secretary.” I’m on my own and sometimes I don’t even know what day is. Yesterday I picked up my watch at a jewelry store. The crystal broke—and I couldn’t fix it. My wife took two bracelets in—the catches were messed up—a man fixed them. His skin is dark—he comes from another country—and he always does a good
Courtesy of Olympic Week--
Teacher for a day/ flickr
job. I had breakfast in a restaurant this week, The young woman that waited on us was just great. She remembered what we ordered, kept asking if she could get anything—all this for a sausage biscuit. I stopped at a gas pump and the machine would not take my credit card. I tried three times—and finally went to that little box where a woman sat behind a glass enclosure—and she solved my problem. All day long she has to deal with customers that are frustrated at the pump. My paper comes every morning and somebody wrapped it up in plastic so it won’t get wet. I flagged down the woman in an old rusty car who delivers the paper faithfully. "What time do you start?" “Oh,” she said, “about five.” On Tuesday my Garbage workers come—followed by the Recycle folk. Faithful as the sun. Down the street some Hispanics are sweating and working in the hot sun. One day I stopped my car and said, “No hablo Espanol.” The worker just broke up and couldn’t quit laughing. Every time I drive by that house now he waves and chuckles.

Courtesy of Boston Public Library
 / flickr
You have your list and I have mine—I could go on and, on remember him or her that made my life a little better by what they did. And do. I recall Linda, in The Death of the Salesman. She  stood at the grave of her husband. Her two boys were there—two or three other people. She asked her boys, “Where are all the people he helped? All those years he worked so hard and nobody came.” And then she said, “Attention should be paid.”

That’s Labor Day. Paying attention to those out there who keep things going. Let’s don’t confine our remembrances of our helpers just on this day. Let’s keep them in mind all year long. We don’t know what’s going on in their lives or what is behind their scowls or their smiles. But each one—each single one—has a story and all are important. They keep us going. One of my favorite quotes is by Ian Maclaren from the 1800’s. The quote is still with us because it is so true. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And Happy Labor Day to you!

photo by Bernard Pollack / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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