Happy Labor Day! 

It’s a gorgeous day here at Vanaprastha, clear, warm and breezy, shirt-sleeve weather. Unlike other parts of the country affected by Hurricane Ida, we received a welcome three inches of rain then a cool front last week. But our summer garden is playing out. A few tomatoes—these harvested this morning—maybe some cucumbers and peppers. 

September is the last month for peaches at Saunders’ Farm Market, as apple season has begun and fall vegetables are showing up: butternut squash, acorn squash, locally grown sweet potatoes and soon, pick-your-own pumpkins.

I love this time of year, the new beginnings ushered in by Labor Day.

Celebrating Labor Day

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the first Monday in September. The holiday honors and recognizes the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers. Because the holiday always falls on Monday, we add the Saturday and Sunday before to create the long Labor Day Weekend.

In Connecticut where I grew up, summer officially opened with the 4th of July neighborhood picnic, organized by my mother, and ended with another picnic on the Labor Day. It was warm enough to swim in the spring-fed pool in July. Only our neighborhood polar bear swam on Labor Day and thereafter. 

After Labor Day, summer vacation ended, a new school year began, and folks went back to work. 

Celebrating my past labor

I learned about the value of labor from my parents. At home, my sisters and I had regular chores. In junior high and high school, I babysat and taught flute lessons to younger children before turning sixteen, when I applied for working papers. Thereafter, during summer and Christmas holidays, I worked at The Edward Malley Company, a local department store in New Haven. I picked up campus jobs in the dining hall and library during college, and for a year after graduation was a bookkeeper in a doctors’ office. Then I landed my first teaching job and entered that profession. Thirty-five years later, I became a writer.

A funny thing happened during those professional years. I learned about what the word “profession” really meant. And I discovered who I was really working for.

Celebrating my current labor

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

One of the “jobs” of the third stage of life is making peace with the past. In two recent pieces, an essay published in Streetlight Magazine, and my September contribution to The Perennial Gen, I explore peacemaking—my own and encouragement for others.

If you have time this week, please read and share your thoughts with me.

I wish you a blessed week.


  1. bigskybuckeye

    I can remember school always starting right after Labor Day. Summer officially came to and end with the first day of classes. Autumn was closing, and I can still remember the leaves falling from the neighborhood of trees near the high school football stadium (back when we still played on real grass). For most of my teaching career, school always began in late August, as I lived far away from my childhood home.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for sharing your memories, Richard. As with you, I taught far away from my childhood home, and we started in August, too.


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