Today is Labor Day. Tomorrow, September 7, would have been my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary. Friday, September 10, would have been my father’s 91st birthday. I always mix those two dates up and when I don’t, I think I do.
As it was, they had been married nearly 56 years when my mom died. It was my father’s second marriage, her first. His first wife, my mom’s college roommate, divorced him after Uncle Sam invited him to spend a few years away from her starting in 1941.
Milestones. FreeDictionary.com‘s first definition is “A stone marker set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles from a given point.” Number two is “an important event, as in a person’s career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point.”
The Birth of a Nation. Married 50 years. Everybody Must Get Stoned. “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Old enough to … vote. Labor Day.
When President Grover Cleveland called out the army and U.S. Marshals to end the 1894 Pullman Strike, 13 strikers died and 57 were wounded. Congress, fearing further conflict, made Labor Day a national holiday by rushing bill into law just six days after the end of the strike.
That milestone is now celebrated as a national day off work.
In Northfield, Vermont, the Labor Day Weekend Celebration is a three-day community event with live entertainment, local and international foods, games of luck and skill, displays and booths, and more, all in Depot Square. The Last Fling of Summer in Montgomery, Vermont, is a free day of arts and crafts vendors, yard sales, delicious food, and live music in the Montgomery Village Recreational Field. Thunder Road has the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic in which Barre’s Nick Sweet will defend his home turf in this ACT Late Model Tour points race.
The Key West Brewfest has more than 50 different kinds of beers and micro-brews plus food and reggae rhythms on tap at this Southernmost Hotel Collection and Key West Rotary Club event.
My folks had the usual issues getting past their milestones; spending more than 50 years in close proximity guarantees that. They also had what I’ve called the most important asset any relationship can have: conversation.
I have met few other people who talked to each other as much as Mary and Chan Harper. They loved road trips and had premium sound systems in their cars, the better to listen to operas. Didn’t turn the radios on much, though. Too busy talking. My dad liked to watch CNBC and putter on the computer. I don’t think he got as many of the news stories (unless CNBC kept repeating them) and I know he was slow on the computer. Too busy talking.
I never have any trouble remembering any other anniversaries. Maybe I’ve been too busy talking.
In the words of my favorite philosopher, Jimmy Buffett, “Some of its magic; some of its tragic, but Ive had a good life all the way.”