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Fri, May 24

Around the Bluhmin' Town: Why is there so much labor on Labor Day?

Are you feeling rested? Just wondering how your official “Day of Rest” ... otherwise called Labor Day ... is turning out. I love this holiday!

Originated more than 100 years ago, it is one of the few national holidays that was created for no man, war, or religion, but for the common working stiff — you and me. It marks the end of summer, one more chance to hop in the car and get out of town for three days, or simply lounge around in the notion that we work hard and deserve an extra day off.

My Labor Day is starting off really well. I think I will do nothing. I will plan on goofing off and do absolutely no chores, no cooking and make no calls. Maybe stay in PJs all day and eat snacks, and read books. But then I wake up from my dream-state and realize there are horses to feed, stalls to rake, birds to feed, coffee to make, meals to prepare, things to do ... and my “day of rest” turns out like all others. Busy and running around. And I think I am not alone. Americans cannot sit still!

My girlfriend, Liz, says they always have a big family barbecue on Labor Day and her husband, Joe, does the grilling. Which usually means that Liz makes the side dishes, the salad, the dessert, sets the table, makes the drinks, does the clean-up and then Joe gets the credit for “making dinner.”

Oh, and Joe’s “big day” of barbecuing ribs sounds like he stands outside drinking a beer and having a grand time, while Liz does all the “laboring.”

Maybe Labor Day is an American holiday that somehow celebrates the very thing that Americans do best. We work hard! Other countries take longer vacations, shorter work weeks and have all sorts of clever “rules” so the employees are not “over-worked.”

Germany has just invoked a law that an employer cannot contact an employee about a job-related issue after 6 p.m. and never on weekends. Yikes, some countries actually pamper their workers!

Labor Day was intended to be a day of rest (with pay) for people who were working long hours, with little recognition, earning measly wages and doing back-breaking jobs.

Labor Day was created to honor “the common man” whose hard labor helped dig ditches, build bridges, roads and buildings. Many people think that Labor Day has lost its meaning. It has become another shallow three-day weekend and an excuse for more retail sales. Or perhaps it represents the end of summer, start of school, beginning of football and one last barbecue.

Oh well, don’t think about all the hours you have toiled in your life since it could be upsetting. Dear Readers, hopefully you can enjoy the “fruits of your labors” all year long!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at


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