That Ain’t Santa On The Roof

We’re getting a new roof—overhead, the steady pounding of labor is like rolling thunder. Fortunately, because this is a small house, the roofers will finish their work by the weekend, when warmer days return, and our cats can come out from under the bed.

The Labor Day forecast is predicting mostly sunny days from tomorrow through Monday, with only marginal cloudiness and no rain. That’s significant, and backwards, as campers usually count on a passing curse shower or two (or worse) over any holiday weekend in the Pacific Northwest. It’s part of our normality.

But this time around, well, who can say? I applaud summer’s quick departure most years, taking the heat, dust and noise with it, but the 2010 season will be remembered for its unpredictability. Most of us were just getting used to saying July when the calendar rolled over this morning—ask any gardener here.

And so roofers roof on unexpectedly cool days, and as I listen to their hard work and consider Labor Day itself I wonder—When did that start? What’s that all about?

History is always acting like one of those plastic animals you put in a glass of water overnight—it’s tiny out of the package, but several times larger in the morning. I’d barely looked at the origins of Labor Day when I was in the midst of riots, protests, workers’ strikes and skirmishes, with dozens injured or killed by troops of the federal governement (that would be today’s Army). Can you imagine the headlines if that happened today, all because a group of workers decided to stand together for decent wages?

I’m putting a couple of links to Wikipedia here, for Labor Day and the 1894 Pullman Strike, so you can read the bare-bones accounts for yourselves, and then I’m going to take my coffee outside and watch the roofers for a bit, and be thankful for all those men and women through our history who worked so hard to put a roof over all of us.

That Ain't Santa On The Roof

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