Monday is the last day to wear seersucker or white for the season. I learned that from reading a story this week about the history and traditions associated with Labor Day.
The fashion no-nos won’t change much in my life, though.
Thirty years ago or so, I got a seersucker shirt as a gift, but I thought it looked like it needed to be ironed.
After hanging it in the closet for a year or two, I sent it to the Salvation Army. I haven’t had any seersucker since.
And for me, wearing white is never in season. For many years, I only wore white or light blue dress shirts, but that changed a couple of years after Jenny and I got married.
She mentioned one day that she didn’t think white was the best color for me.
I looked at myself in the mirror and concluded she was onto something. I thought I looked a little like a refrigerator.
I still own a white shirt or two, but they probably have yellowed while hanging in the closet. I used to say that I saved them to wear to funerals, but I’ve quit wearing white even to those.
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Monday is the traditional end of summer, the time to go back to school after a day for picnics and barbecues.
But that also has changed with schools starting earlier, especially in the South.
And Southern weather and the advent of covered gas grills have contributed to outdoor grilling being a year-round event. At our house, we’re as apt to cook burgers on the grill on New Year’s Day as Labor Day.
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One thing we don’t do much of on Labor Day around the Mitchell household is labor. That is how it should be, I guess.
The day is supposed to be a time to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers.
It was first proposed by an officer of a labor union in New York in 1882. About 30 states already had Labor Day observances by the time it was made a national holiday in 1894.
Early in its history, Labor Day usually was a parade to show the public the strength and spirit of trade and labor unions, followed by a festival or picnic for workers and their families. Over time, the gatherings included political speeches.
There is still some of that today, especially in big cities.
But for many of us, it’s just a three-day end-of-summer holiday weekend.
For others, including many the day is supposed to honor, it is not a day off from work. They labor – whether in gas stations, fast-food restaurants, retail stores, or many other jobs – to serve the rest of us.
It makes me feel a little guilty. Well, a little, but not enough to stay home and cook instead of eating out on the holiday.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.