Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Labor Day sales

Wick's World


September 6, 2018

Once upon a time Labor Day was celebrated with parades featuring marchers from the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters Union, the Bricklayers Union and my favorite, the one union I belonged to, the Hod-Carriers Union. We were the workers who brought the bricklayers their mud.

During the era following the Great Depression, America went back to work. Jobs meant something to working-class Americans. One could see the pride etched into the wrinkled faces and callous hands of America’s workers who were living the dream. Jobs were followed by the unions so paychecks were equalized and brutal treatment of the American worker was replaced with an air of respect by Americans of all races, creeds and color.

The Labor Day parades were led by the flag and followed by union representatives, the working class and marching bands. The good jobs paid a buck an hour and better ones moved you into the upper-middle class. Of course a dollar went a long way back then. Even eight-year-olds like me were setting pins for a dime a line at the local bowling alley. One had to be fast on their feet in order to jump down in the pit and get the pins set and cleared. All of this had to happen in the short time it took to get out of the pit before the next cannonball came firing your way. I never once saw an OSHA spy.

I was still working at the bowling alley when the Korean War ended. America was back on its feet and we had a man in charge of our country that made Americans feel greater than ever. If you lived back in the day when the general from WWII was in charge of America, you will recognize the dream we were living. We felt safe and abundant with “Good Old Ike” in charge. Despite a horrific Depression and two World Wars, America remained as great as were from the first signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Following our recovery from the Great Depression and the Free World’s victory over The White Supremacists in Germany, America remained great as it always was.

From eight to 80, we had one thing in common: we had jingle in our pockets and protection with our rockets. Then something happened near the closing of the century. America began its long run toward polarization. Democrats and Republicans no longer worked together for the good of the country. Our flag colors of red, white and blue had been co-opted by both sides. Our country morphed back into a Pre-Civil War nation of black and white. Today we live in a world of whites vs. non-whites.

The term union is considered a dirty word and there are very few parades today. Workers are now offered low-skilled and even lower-paying jobs. Labor Day has become nothing more than a three-day weekend filled with sales.

It is officially called “The End of Summer” and for some “The Beginning of the NFL season.” The best place to celebrate Labor Day is in Aspen, Colorado. Ajax Tavern will be celebrating with “The 7th Annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival.” If you don’t know what one is, don’t ask.

The first Labor Day speech offered this from Aristotle: “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

This came from Thomas Edison: "There is no substitute for hard work," (except taking credit for many of Tesla’s ideas).

I live by the words of Stephen King: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Labor Day: A three-day Sale, End of Summer, NFL begins and the Minnesota State Fair ends tonight.


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