Labor Day

If you ask any American what Labor Day is, you will probably get a variation of answers. It's not like Independence Day or Thanksgiving where there is a story that gets repeated every year. How did Labor Day start? When was the first Labor Day? I have no idea.

For most school kids in the US, Labor Day means the last weekend of summer. Most schools begin classes the day after Labor Day. One distinct memory I have of this holiday weekend is going to our local fair. This is a huge annual event around here. I never lived on a farm, but I had a lot of friends who did. Their entire summer was centered around this fair. Some had prized animals that would be shown and judged every summer (horses, cows, etc). Others helped their parents in the garden and had prized vegetables that would be shown every year. We have a diverse community and there would be a showcase of different ethnic foods, arts, dancing, etc, during fair week. Lots of great memories from back then. There are times I wish I could go back to those innocent days. The days when my biggest worry was whether my friends and I would have the same teacher for school the next day. Ahhhh, those were the days.

Another memory I have is watching the US Open tennis tournament every year with my parents. I still do this, and I'm planning to go over there today. In high school, I was really into tennis (when I was more athletic than I am now). And my friends and I would follow the tournaments all through the summer with the pinnacle being the US Open. Yesterday, one of my childhood heros played his last professional tennis match: Andre Agassi. I have watched this guy for the past 20 years, at different stages in his career and in his life. I'm always inspired by a superstar athlete who admits when things are not going well. I learned a lot about tennis and a lot about life. Thanks Andre.

The final memory that I'll mention is the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Pk has had some very informative posts this weekend about muscular dystrophy. I encourage you to check them out. I had no idea what a telethon was until I started watching this as a child. I would ask my parents, "If the show goes on all day and all night, when do people sleep?" This was also one of my first introduction into fundraising as a child - not a bad thing, just a new concept that I learned as a youngster - the concept of philanthropy. I kept asking myself, "Why would people help other people that they don't even know?" I soon learned the answer to that one. Finally, it was one of my first introductions into medicine, or, at least, learning about a disease process. As a child, and even now, it was/is hard for me to imagine a child suffering for any debilitating disease.

Finally, I'm glad just to get August behind me. That was a very turbulent month on a lot of different levels. Thanks to May for giving me some closure and the ability to move forward. I'm ready to satisfy my blogging addiction again.