This is Labor Day weekend. It’s a “long weekend” which means we have three days off. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – Labor Day.
Since I am older and as such a bit less likely to just take things at face value, I got to wondering just how Labor Day came about. I did some research and some of the information I came up with was pretty interesting.
It all started around 1882. Seems a fellow named Matthew Maguire, who was a machinist from Patterson, New Jersey, came up with the idea. Mr. Maguire was at the time a secretary of the International Association of Machinists of New York and made a proposal to the Central Labor Union that there be a Labor Day. A day of celebration and relaxation for the “working man”. His proposal was adopted shortly thereafter and a committee was appointed to plan a demonstration and picnic.
The very first “formal” Labor Day was held on a Tuesday, but after that it was decided that the first Monday in September would always be Labor Day. At least in New York. But good ideas have a way of spreading and in the next few years many cities and municipalities throughout the country adopted the idea of a “working man’s holiday”. In 1887 Oregon’s legislature passed a law formalizing Labor Day and thereby became the first state to formally adopted Labor Day as a holiday.
That same year 4 more states legislated Labor Day as an official holiday. By 1894 over half of the states had followed suit and by the end of that year the U.S. Congress had made Labor Day a national holiday that was observed across the United States.
In the over 120 years that followed Labor Day has evolved. Early Labor Day celebrations were filled with parades, picnics, kegs of beer, cigars and celebration. As time passed these sort of organized activities became less prevalent and turned more into family times spent together. More a signal that school was starting and soon summer would be ending.
For many years Labor Day was time for the Ashby Family Reunion. We would rent a shelter house in a local park and everyone would bring a covered dish, some desert, and plenty of plates and cutlery. The old timers would reminisce, the ladies would chat about the last year and tell stories about their kids and grandkids, and the youngsters would wander down to the lake to try their hand at fishing for that monster they had all seen but never caught.
As time passed many of our older Ashby’s passed away and soon the family reunion was pretty sparsely attended. Younger folks now had families of their own and activities to attend to that may or may not include making an appearance at the reunion. I have to admit that I was among those who’s attendance was “spotty”. Yes, I loved to see my relatives and catch up on the last 12 months, but we had 3 kids and they were more interested in being in a boat fishing than trekking down to a small pond while all of the adults visited. And so Labor Day, for us, changed.
Funny thing is that as kids get older their priorities change, sometimes for the good, sometimes otherwise. Once all the kids were teenagers Labor Day had become a day where Dixie and I would work around the house and the kids would be off with their friends. Now that they are all grown with kids of their own they’re most likely to be shuttling their kids to a baseball tournament, swim meet, soccer practice, etc.
Now that our kids are gone and the grandkids have so many activities this weekend Labor Day is once again a great time to hit the water and do some fishing, hopefully with some of my buddies or perhaps Dixie. Yes, I know that both boat and fishermen populations increase dramatically this last “big” weekend on any given lake or river, but our plan has always been to not be that concerned about the catch as the experience. Being out in the fresh air, on the water, with friends or family. Just knowing that the Summer heat has fewer good days left has always been an enjoyable thought at this time of year. And that has always made Labor Day weekend very special.
We hope your Labor Day is special as well and filled with friends, family, and most of all some well deserved relaxation.
Don’t forget about our 15% off storewide sale. You only have 48 hours remaining to take advantage of this great deal. We are happy to be able to pass along a great deal to our fantastic customers and this is no doubt one of our best promotions of the year.
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