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Happy Labor Day

Labor Day is no no day for doing labor, so we decided to re-post last year’s brief and rather lazy post.
Today is Labor Day, which is our most bittersweet holiday of the year. We like the idea of everyone taking a day off to honor all the hard work folks are doing the of the year, and relish the bratwurst and beer and baseball the day always brings, but it’s always followed by a Tuesday when the summer is over.
There will probably be a few more hot and sunny and top-down driving days here on the Kansas plains, but we’re already noticing that the days grow short when you reach September, even here on the western edges of the vast central time zone, and Labor Day always signals that the blissfully lazy and hazy days of summer are officially over. School is back in session, those crawling school speed zone limits are back in effect, pretty much everyone on the streets is back at some unpleasant chore, the nation turns its attention from the elegant sport of baseball to the more primal combat of football, and an even more brutal political season begins.
Our advice is to put all that off until tomorrow. Better you should charbroil a plump bratwurst and put it in a toasted bun with some roasted jalapeƱo slices and smother it in plenty of mustard, drink a beer or two or three, and enjoy what a great country all that labor has brought forth. There will be time enough for the rest of it starting on damned Tuesday.

— Bud Norman

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Labor Day and its Laborious Aftermath

Labor Day is the most bittersweet holiday. It affords a welcome day of rest from the labor that it honors, but unofficially marks when the carefree days of summer give way to the seriousness of autumn and winter. As much as we enjoy the bratwurst and beer and the day of rest, we still feel the annual resentment of the Huckleberry Finn freedom of summer vacation coming to an end with our forced return some stern schoolmarm’s classroom, along with all the adult responsibilities that are supposed to kick back in with the cooler temperatures, and this being a leap year we’re also obliged by a quadrennial political cliche to start paying even more attention to that dispiriting presidential race.
Here in Kansas, at least, we don’t acknowledge Labor Day as the actual end of summer. The kids have already been back in school for a couple of weeks, a form of child abuse we were happily spared back in our school days, those slowing-to-a-crawl school zone speed limits are back in effect along with all the rest of the adult responsibilities that never did really go away, and politics is a constant obsession even in off-years, so some arbitrary date on a calendar doesn’t mean much around here. The warm weather usually persists at least the first few weeks into September, sometimes even into October, until the big bluegrass festival down in Winfield and the Kansas State Fair over in Hutchinson have concluded no one around here will call it a summer, and we’ll keep wearing a straw fedora until the temperatures require a cloth cap, no matter what rules of hat etiquette they might have cooked up in the frigid northeast.
We’ll take today off, too, and enjoy family and friends and good food and the absence of labor, along with the strangely perfect weather we’ve been lately been having around here, and we suggest you do the same. Tomorrow is another work and school day, and there’s that dispiriting presidential election lurking in the day’s news, and it would be good to face it well rested.

— Bud Norman