“Heading out to San Francisco for the Labor Day Weekend Show, I got my hush puppies on, I guess I never was meant for glitter rock n roll,” Jimmy Buffet explains what he was thinking as the summer of 73 was soon to be in his rear view mirror. With autumn closing in all he had was a song and a girl. For me, this song represented the not accredited end of summer that gave me cause to annually whistle it every year on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Until recently those days were spent on the golf course anticipating what Tuesday would bring. While I am having trouble identifying myself in the present, the past runs vast with vivid memories of long ago Labor Day Weekends. There was “the summer can’t go by that fast?” thought when I was a lad. There was “No.!!! What the f…..”, shock of the inevitability of what was ahead in my public school teaching days. Then came the “Oh man, the end of the year is coming fast, I better hurry up,” forever worrying about year end numbers in the business grind. In recent years its’ been more like “damn this has a been a good year,” appreciation layered with trepidation looking into the future. In the moment “I am confused but more peaceful, I am full, yet lack the hunger to maintain my contentment. I am thankful enough for all I have, while at the same time making terms with the idea that to stop wanting more is to stop living.
Two young children were in the adjacent yard chasing after the early leaves. Their mother was close by running through her preseason raking drills, while dad chilled on the front porch sipping on something wet. Norman Rockwell painted the pictures of fairytales from a time gone by. Looking across the street I believed it was possible that today’s technology is able to bring his art to life. By nightfall a favorite local band was drawing an overflow crowd on the waters edge. The vocals were a solid mix of Mellisa Ethridge and Jon Bon Jovi. The scent was festive, with cause for celebration. The late afternoon sun was the tell of the date on the seasonal calendar. A city was kicking off the beginning of our nation’s working forces biggest holiday. Labor day is one tradition that hasn’t lost much of its flavor since its’ inception in 1894. What else could early September mean besides a long weekend that says goodbye to summer frolics and hello to the new season. Possibly more than the New Year, Labor day is the two headed monster of the hope that we can start over, and the doom of what we anticipate is ahead.
Inside the house where Catholics go to seek salvation the tales are filled with fable, myth, and virtuous preachings, lightly sprinkled with facts. Aside from of all of the commands to sit or rise, a trip to God’s house can remind us of valuable lessons woven into well crafted stories. When visiting the devout papistry you will find ample time to reflect on right and wrong ,along with the always lurking pair of good and evil. On this fantasy scripted Saturday today’s teachings inside Saint Joseph’s were focused on the good. A twenty something man and woman were exchanging the vows of a lifetime. This particular couple found their life’s partner in the the 7th grade. On the 4th day of September 2021 Carly and Dominick said the “I do’s” through thick and thin, sickness and health, till death do us part. Outside the Church of Rome they blew the bubbles of good luck over the newly crowned Mr. and Mrs. Marino.
The reception was a mesh of two grand American families, being led in celebration by an aroused wedding party facilitator. The Bride’s side was represented by her parents, six sisters, one brother, and one non barking dog. The Groom’s side consisted of his parents, his sister, several cousins, aunts, uncles and one live barking dog. The Bridesmaid and Bestman let everyone know that the two people who were joining in holy matrimony have always had a thought out plan for bringing a fight to this life. Their speeches reminded us the dreams of children are mystical longings that on special instances meet up for the conception of love. It is possible to sustain an eternity of bliss and friendship with those we meet on the playground at recess. This Saturday night of Labor Day Weekend was both an end and a beginning for Dominick and Carly. They were waving goodbye to the last grasp of childhood when their plans were merely dreams. In the prime of early summer the high school sweethearts were stepping into the leaves of fall.
No matter how practical we are there is a deep seeded yearning in all of us searching for the endless summer. Labor Day weekend is that rub with reality. The summer is gone but the wonder of it all remains somewhere deep inside of us. There is a sadness waving good-bye to the long nights, a woefulness in hearing the last sounds of splashes in the afternoon sun. We reflect mostly on the happy times of long beach vacations in the sand and cocktails on the beach. Next summer is not far away but in the meantime there is much work to be done before Memorial day. Labor Day Weekend is the long embrace you give to a beloved friend you are not going to see till next year as you dress for fall.
The Sunday night before Labor Day has it’s own bittersweet feeling that you get when your favorite band finishes their encore. I was by myself in a crowded bar looking up to the screen in front of me. Yes, it was September and Mets were still in the pennant race, Pat Cantley had just earned 15,000,000 as the golfing world’s Fed EX champ, and the Yankees were losing a tough one to the lowly Orioles. Another summer was in the books and it was time to find my way home. I turned on the boobtube and was treated to an end to an exciting college football game between Florida State and Notre Dame. I was reminded why I still keep an eye on sports happenings. Florida State was making a comeback with a kid at quarterback who had found this way through the thicket to get to this night. Sports endings can’t be scripted, the ending unfolds before your eyes in real time. McKenzie Milton and his teammates penned an inspiring story about the road back, to what must have seemed the top of the world, only to fall short of planting their flag at the summit. Before my own climb upstairs, where the summer peepers were preparing to serenade me to sleep, I got in some old fashioned belly laughs watching the Dick Van Dyke Show and an episode of The Honeymooners. I flashed back to all the Sunday night Labor Day Jerry Lewis telethons myself and my brother would stay up all night watching. It was our scared ritual to put all our seasons in the sun to bed. “Yes it has been quite a summer,” harping back to the words of Jimmy Buffet. My thoughts on this Labor day are not that much different than they were on the ones that came before. “Come Tuesday, It’ll be alright.”