Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Labor Day Ruminations

I never fully understood why Daddy always looked forward to Labor Day, until this past one.

You see, my Daddy was a coal miner in the Appalachian Mountains. He worked as a coal miner all his life, and even a foreman in the mines of Kentucky. Labor Day was a big deal for him because it meant he had a day off - and he never had a lot of those when I was growing up. Labor Day he was guaranteed a day off and a three day weekend at that!

We would always grill out, have friends over, and my Daddy would kick back on the porch and just relax. His laughter would fill the house, the yard, the park, wherever we were.

Nine times out of ten we had one of my uncles (his brothers) with us and their families. It was a celebratory occasion. It was a time to reflect, in part, on his life, because, by the time evening came and he was getting prepared to go to work at 5 am (he had to be there by 5:30 AM) he was quiet, but usually smiling.

Most of the other girls never caught him smiling in his quiet way. They were always bustling here and there, but, somehow, I was always there when he gave his quiet little smile. It was a smile of accomplishment.

This past Labor Day hubby relaxed. It was the first time he relaxed in a while, and it was splendid to behold. Hubby gets up at 5 AM to go to work in a position he doesn't deserve, and does his job with pride and steady reliability. He reminded me of my Daddy so much in his quiet smile last night as he prepared to get ready for a new day, a new week of work.

Like my Mom, I wanted to make sure he enjoyed Labor Day the way he wanted. I came pretty close to it. And hubby, well, hubby enjoyed himself.

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