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Brittle Petals

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After the memorial service, I am sad.

I don’t want to be alone tonight, and I tell God so.

I am aimlessly rearranging things in a kitchen cabinet when I find the box — Guatemalan, I think.

Bright enamel covers it. Dust covers it, too.

I wipe it off, open it up.

At first I don’t remember. Then I do.

They used to be yellow; now they are brown.

They used to be soft; now they are brittle.

Brittle petals, memories of a friend who was there in a long-ago sadness.

Yellow roses from a Texan.

He never said they were from him. A friend said, “It was Bob.”

Today would be a good day for yellow roses, but brittle petals are a nice second.

Thanks, Bob. Thanks, God.

Brittle Petals in a Box

Brittle Petals in a Box

What Would You Do with Your One Moment?

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My brother writhes on the floor, yells in pain, and then is still as he gasps for breath.

“It hurts, it hurts,” he moans. “Why does it hurt so much?”

His legs and stomach are too swollen for him to get up off the floor where he has fallen.

“Please let me call the rescue squad – they will help you get back up on the couch.” He is too much for me to lift. His legs have no strength to push.

“No, no, they’ll take me away. They won’t let me live here alone like this.”

This is not the time for me to beg for the thousandth time, “Please get the operation; it doesn’t have to be like this.”

And for him to say for the two thousandth time, “The doctors don’t know what they’re doing. It’s not my heart. There’s something wrong with my stomach.”

This is not the time for another fight, not the time for more tears. This is a time to try to get back up on the couch.

What is the right thing to do? I cannot think, cannot decide, cannot help.

He tells me he hasn’t eaten all day. I bring him some mac & cheese and a little water. I wait for him to catch his breath.

We are about to try again, to hoist, to push, to groan, to fail.

Then time stops.

As per the WordPress Daily Challenge: For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?

Miranda the cat has stopped in mid-stride, her head cocked in puzzlement as it has been for the entire seven hours her human has been on the floor struggling and groaning. The clock is stopped at 5 a.m.

Everything is still.

I gently put my hand over my brother’s heart, pray, and heal his mitral valve.

That’s what I would do with my one moment.

A Better Day

A Better Day

What would you do with your one moment of stillness?

Related story: http://outsideinmagazine.com/issue-six/wordstories/late-summer-dream-melanie-lynn-griffin/

Autumn’s Red Plastic Ritual

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All summer, it’s a chore. Not a big chore, just something that must be done, like groceries and cat’s pans and mowing. It’s on the list.

But when the sun hits the equator to signal the start of Fall, which it does today at 4:44 p.m. EST, my chore becomes a ritual – sacred because it will soon be no more.

I pick my favorite pot, the small one that belonged to my roommate Eileen back in the seventies. I fill it with exactly two cups of water and watch as the liquid comes to a boil: round rolls that are at first full and viscous turn to thin bubbles snapping and spitting.

As the steam rises, I measure one-half a cup of sugar — honey-colored, raw, organic sugar — and pour it into the water, stirring with a well-worn silver teaspoon that belonged to my mother, the woman who taught me to love nature and to talk to animals.

I add a few ice cubes to the pot and set it by the sink where the red plastic containers soak in white vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Peppermint Castile soap, the scent of which graced every good hippie group home back in the day.

Hey, man — did you ever read this label? Far out, man!

Mom used Ivory Liquid.

I scrub the plastic with a toothbrush to remove every spot of dirt and mildew, rinse well, and then carefully pour in the sweet water.

By now the hummingbirds are hovering around their vacant feeding spots outside. They look puzzled, shiny heads tilting first this way and then that, examining the empty hanger from one direction, then buzzing over a few inches to see if things might look different from the other side.

It was here a minute ago.

“Coming, coming,” I say, as I moisten a paper towel with Avon Skin-so-Soft and wipe the tops of the feeders to repel the lines of ants that also await my return.

The red feeders are still dripping, and a sticky sugar trail trickles across the kitchen floor as I head out the door.

I never know which will be the last feeding, the last time I’ll see the hummers before their long flight and before my long winter devoid of their bejeweled company.

See if you can see her - she's looking directly at you!

Can you see her? She’s looking directly at you! (Click on it.)

nh2013 005.b

Is this fresh?

Fueling up for the flight

Fueling up for the flight!

Have a blessed Autumn!

Related Links:

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-september-equinox

http://www.defenders.org/hummingbirds/basic-facts

In Memory

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In Memory

“What about cups?”

How can we be talking about cups?

“I’ll bring them, and napkins.”

She looks perfectly normal.

 

“And do we have tablecloths?”

Her eyes are red.

“We can get some.”

I wonder if she can sleep.

 

“I was thinking lemonade.”

I realize it’s only been one night.

“Let’s keep it simple. Water is good.”

One night. Alone.

 

“How many people do you think?”

How many people does it take to remember?

“Over a hundred, I’m sure. Two, maybe.”

Will she even remember the day?

 
“I want everyone to wear blue.”

I nod.

“It was his favorite color.”

I nod again, wonder if my blue shirt is clean.

 

“It will be nice,” I say.

“Yes.” She nods. “It will be nice.”

Her face crumbles, like a stone cliff cracking, collapsing,

Sliding down into rubble.

 

Beyond This Place

Beyond This Place

I had this conversation, which became a poem, yesterday; it is my offering to the WordPress Weekly Challenge on using dialogue. I offer it in memory of Mark.

The Music of Life: A Poem and a Picture

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I’ve mentioned before that I don’t consider myself a poet. I wouldn’t know an iambic if it bit me in the pentameter. Nevertheless, I do from time to time write things with funny line breaks. So here, for your reading pleasure, is one of those things.

First, here is the lovely painting that inspired it, “Morning Music Detail” by Rod MacIver at Heron Dance art studio.

Sing Life

Sad? Sing.

Sing despair, sing way deep.

Sing anger at Mystery;

Sing loud into Empty.

 

Afraid? Sing.

Sing lost, sing hollow.

Whistle, if that helps;

Whistle into  Alone.

 

Joyful? Sing. Sing!

Sing light, sing golden.

Sing honey into Our Oneness;

Sing laughter at Big Questions.

 

Confused? Might as well . . .

Sing high, sing low.

Sing “How should I know?”

 

Bored? Hum.

Hum monotone, if you must;

Still, hum.

A Bit of Fluff in Obama’s Ear

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“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”  Wise words from Winnie-the-Pooh.

Thank God the bit of fluff that’s been lodged in President Obama’s ear when it comes to Syria seems to have been dislodged, at least for the time being.

Original Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys. Clockwi...

A cabinet meeting of Winnie-the-Pooh’s top advisors . . . might they bring some wisdom to the conundrum in Syria? (Photo:Wikipedia)

Miracles Happen

It was with a great sense of anxiety that my book group crowded onto the sofa to watch Obama’s speech on Tuesday night. Earlier, when we had been discussing an O’Henry short story, the chips and cheese had been rapidly disappearing from the bowls on the coffee table, but once Obama reached the podium, the snacking stopped and the silence fell.

Several of us had prayed and fasted through lunch the day before, along with hundreds from our church, on behalf of a peaceful solution in Syria. And it did feel like a miracle when half-way through his speech, Obama began to back away from the cliff.

My friend Shobha looked incredulous, her brown eyes wide and teary. “An answer to our prayers,” she said.

Trying to Trust

I never did trust George W. and all his war justifications. With all due respect (due being the operative word here), I think he was an idiot who was just the puppet of a bunch of neo-con war-mongers.

But I want to at least try to trust Obama; I voted for the guy. I like him personally, although I’ve been disappointed by him in many ways. I almost wanted him to persuade me of the wisdom of bombing Syria because I was so certain he was going to do it, and I didn’t want to lose all faith in his wisdom.

But I have not been persuaded; not in the least.

“Think it Over, Think it Under” (Pooh)

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, wrote on her Facebook page September 8th:

“But isn’t this one reality–that the most fastidiously trained and learned people in the government, military, humanitarian and diplomatic fields, can’t figure out the right move — reason enough to hold off bomb strikes for the time being?”

Even my very conservative neighbor Pat, with whom I rarely agree about anything except the weather, agrees on Syria. Don’t bomb. Not now. What is the hurry? Her grandson is in the Army, somewhere in the Middle East, but he can’t tell her where.

I have only one friend who supports the bombing, and he’s one of those one-issue kind of guys. Israel is his issue, and peace is not his strategy. He might feel differently when his little boy reaches military age.

Otherwise, ambivalence is the strongest support for Obama’s position that I’ve heard.

Gratitude

I plan to do some volunteering this weekend. I want to serve out of the abundance of gratitude I am feeling.

I like to think it was the people who postponed this folly. That now and then, regular folks can still make a difference. Was it the yelling of Americans who are weary of their kids being killed? Was it the yelling of citizens in our allied nations (whatever *that* means these days — someone we’re not bombing?) tired of being dragged into conflict by the U.S.? Whatever it was, it shifted Obama’s ear-fluff.

I’m sure it was a complicated bit of fluff, probably comprised of ego, politics, patriotism, compassion, anger, fear — desperation might be a better word. I’ll bet he felt trapped by his own line in the sand.

I used to have a boss who said that when he could see no solution to an office politics problem, he would “just throw a grenade and let everyone run around for a while to see what happens.” I never agreed with this approach, and I never saw it turn out well. Stupid office politics; even stupider international politics. Apologies to my male readers, but I think it had something to do with testosterone.

“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit.
“No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”

And so, my fellow citizens, God bless America.

God bless Syria.

And God help us all.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A related post that conveys my thoughts in a much more intelligent way:  http://woodgatesview.com/2013/09/11/on-the-anniversary-of-911-a-victory-for-clear-headed-thinking/

This is my monthly contribution to Bloggers for Peace. Bloggers, why not sign up?

Highly Impractical and Completely Unanticipated

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This December I’ll be earning my Masters in Writing, a highly impractical and completely unanticipated happenstance. I am, shall we say, beyond college age.

graduation cap short tassle gold

My thesis has obliterated my actual life. Communication with normal people is out of the question. I went to a party on Sunday and the only topics of conversation I could conjure up were grammar rules and formatting templates. I think I had better stick with other thesis students for the time being.

I’m currently writing this post to avoid doing footnotes. My nails are bitten to little nubs, there are colorful life forms growing on the dishes in my sink, and my butt is numb from sitting at my computer.

In the words of David Byrne  and the Talking Heads:

“You may ask yourself, well — how did I get here?”

Good question.

As with most worthwhile endeavors, there was some loss and letting go involved before new life could take root. A couple of years ago, my world got weird when I lost my mother to the Great Beyond, my brother to mental illness, and my job to burn-out.

I was adrift, and life held nothing but questions.

Embracing the Counterintuitive

I began attending workshops at the Bethesda Writer’s Center near my home, hoping that writing might be therapeutic and perhaps even unleash new energy and indicate a new life direction. I filled journal after journal. Fortunately, I had a decent savings account, but I occasionally worried about what was next. Freelance writing, after all, is hardly a lucrative pursuit, especially if it’s primarily of the angst-filled, navel-gazing variety.

Then one day, a young man read a sentence in our workshop.  His name was Robert, and his sentence had something to do with a soccer game and a boy leaping into the air. It was beautiful. Magical. I saw that boy leaping into the air. I heard the smack of the ball.

Soccer Player Kicking A Soccer Ball Clip Art

“Where did you learn to write like that?” I asked Robert after class.

“I just graduated from Johns Hopkins in Writing,” he said, his brown eyes shining with pride. “It’s a part-time program with great teachers. You should check it out.”

I sensed that Robert had something I wanted.

Turns out that there was an open house that very weekend, and I went. Over crudités and seltzer water, I fell in love with the idea of becoming a fifty-something “returning student.” It sounded so — what? So risky, so bold, so romantic, so very not me.

I’ll admit it’s counterintuitive to spend your retirement savings on tuition, but I believe in destiny, and this felt like it. Or at least like fun.

I promised myself I would never take a class I wasn’t completely psyched about – the goal was not the degree, it was becoming the very best writer I could be and enjoying every moment. Losing my mother had taught me that life is short. I have kept that promise to myself and am having a blast. Okay, so maybe the writing conference in Florence, Italy was a bit extravagant, but it gave me memories, friends, and writing colleagues for life.

One Step at a Time

A year ago, nearing the end of the Hopkins program and still unsure of my future direction, I took a class in teaching writing. I thought maybe I could teach a workshop at a local community center or a nursing home or maybe even return to the Writer’s Center as a teacher.

Our first assignment was to create a syllabus. Ugh . For a college freshman composition class. Double ugh. (That’s literary language for ewww…) Mindful of having fun, I almost dropped the class but decided to stick it out another week to see what would happen.

I loved it! I created a detailed syllabus based on a topic I’m passionate about, environmental protection. When the professor returned it to me, he said I had gone way beyond what was required by designing field trips, including reading lists, and identifying guest speakers. At the end of the semester, he told me, “You would be a terrific writing teacher, just by being yourself. You absolutely have what it takes.”

It feels too good to be true, and it probably won’t pay much more than freelance writing, but I believe I’m being guided, one counterintuitive step at a time, to a new career doing something that I’m going to love!

I’m not going to do the graduation gown thing. I’m just inviting a few friends to the public reading where they’ll get free wine and cheese and listen to me and my twenty-something colleagues read our work.

Thanks to WordPress for the challenge to write a story backwards, starting with an event in the present and then following the wandering path back to the story’s  inception. And thanks, Robert, wherever you are. It’s been a fun ride.

And now back to my footnotes.

path on peat moor in sepia colour

The Wandering Path

Suicide Happens. Help Stop It.

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There are a lot of ways to kill yourself. Of course there are the socially acceptable ways, like overwork and stress and pickling your liver.

But I’m talking about more dramatic departures. One friend of mine drove his van full speed into a brick wall – the weird paint pattern that covered the patched hole was visible for decades until they tore the building down.

Another guy lay down on the railroad tracks. He was drunk. High school.

A friend’s teenage son shot himself. He was on anti-depressants at the time.

Another friend of mine says that every day his niece doesn’t kill herself is a good day.

A young woman I used to teach in Sunday school hung herself in August 2011.  Heather was a beautiful, spunky, talented angel. You never would have guessed.

Heather getting some love from her twin cousins

Heather getting some love from her twin high school buddies

These aren’t famous sportswriters creating detailed farewell blogs about their suicides. They are just regular people who couldn’t handle life. They didn’t get the help they needed for whatever reason.

The Sad Statistics

Tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, September 10. It’s a good day to educate yourself, because if you don’t already know someone who has taken their own life, the sad odds are that you will.

The World Health Organization says that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world, especially among young people. Worldwide, there is one suicide every forty seconds. The number of people who die by suicide every year exceeds the number of deaths from homicide and wars combined.

In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 25 to 34, and the third rated killer for ages 15 to 24. It’s not just the young — in 2010, an elderly person (65-85) committed suicide every 90 minutes. For the population as a whole, it’s the #10 killer. Nearly a million Americans try to kill themselves every year.

Warning Signs of Suicide

You’ve probably seen this list, but it’s worth taking a look at again – just in case. Warning signs vary, and they aren’t always obvious. Some people keep their struggles a secret, some verbalize them. But here are potential signs to watch for. A suicidal person may:

  • Talk about suicide, death and/or no reason to live.
  • Be preoccupied with death and dying.
  • Withdraw from friends and/or social activities.
  • Have a recent severe loss (esp. relationship) or threat of a significant loss.
  • Experience drastic changes in behavior.
  • Lose interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Prepare for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements.
  • Give away prized possessions.
  • Have attempted suicide before.
  • Take unnecessary risks; be reckless, and/or impulsive.
  • Lose interest in their personal appearance.
  • Increase their use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Express a sense of hopelessness.
  • Be faced with a situation of humiliation or failure.
  • Have a history of violence or hostility.
  • Have been unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers.
  • Start saying goodbye to people in a “final” kind of way.
  • Suddenly exhibit a strange sense of calm (the decision has been made).

What to Do if You are Worried about Someone

If you suspect someone is contemplating suicide, the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research recommends:

  •  Encourage the person to seek treatment. Ideally, the individual should consult a doctor or mental-health provider. But if they won’t, then suggest reaching out to a support group, crisis center or faith community. Or the person can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Help the person get assistance. For example, you can research treatment options, make phone calls, review insurance benefit information, or take the person to an appointment.
  •  Facilitate open communication. Be supportive and understanding. Listen attentively and avoid interrupting.
  •  Be respectful of the person’s feelings. Even though someone who’s suicidal isn’t thinking logically, the emotions are real. Not acknowledging how the person feels can curtail communication.
  •  Don’t be patronizing or judgmental. Instead of contending that “things could be worse” or “you have so much to live for,” ask questions such as, “What would make you feel better?” or “How can I help?”
  •  Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret. The reason is simple. If you think that the person’s life is in danger, you’ll have to get help.
  • Offer reassurance. Emphasize that, with appropriate treatment, he or she will feel better about life.
  •  Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drugs. Using drugs or alcohol can lead to reckless behavior and increase depression.

If you think that someone is in danger of committing suicide or has actually made a suicide attempt:

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Call 911.
  • Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  •  If these options aren’t possible, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Say Something

Please don’t feel silly or self-conscious talking about this. If you’re worried, there is probably a reason. Better safe than sorry. Say something. Do something.

Here is a link to a great website about how to help someone you are concerned about. When someone in my family was suicidal a few years ago, I used many of these talking points almost verbatim. They gave me confidence, and he tells me that when I told him, “Whether you believe it right now or not, you WILL get through this, you WILL feel better,” it gave him the strength to make it through his worst depression.

,You might want to keep this number in your wallet. You never know when it might save a life: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Light a Candle

Please light a candle in a window at 8 p.m. tomorrow night. In support and solidarity, or in memory of someone you love.

I wish you peace.

Light a Candle at 8 PM on World Suicide Prevention Day e-cards or postcards in English

Please light a candle

Our Democracy is a Hot Mess. Hope Anyway.

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This weekend, I marched in a parade with the woman I hope will be Maryland’s next governor. Heather Mizeur would be the first female to hold that office and the first openly gay governor in American history. I think she’s so inspiring that I drove eight hours from New Hampshire just so I could be home to walk with her in our Labor Day parade.

Maryland's Next Governor?

Maryland’s Next Governor?

I confess: although I call myself a recovering lobbyist, I am still addicted to politics if it gets anywhere near me, especially if it marches past in a parade or a protest. Placards and chants are way more compelling than factsheets and lobby meetings.

I can’t help myself. There is something about the idea of making a difference – “being a change agent,” as they say – that is irresistible to me.

After all I’ve witnessed in my career on Capitol Hill, I don’t know why I still believe that one person can make a difference. It’s irrational.  Our democratic system is a hot mess, and corporate power and political corruption are even more out of control than they were when I was a baby lobbyist thirty years ago.

Yet I still hope.

Political Sickness

Most politicians care only about getting re-elected, which usually translates into money. I’ve seen more than one idealistic candidate win an election and then slowly — or rapidly — lose the very values and principles that drove them to run for office in the first place. There seems to be a contagion in the air vents of the U.S. Capitol and in statehouses around the country, and nobody is immune.

The virus is not new; it’s just more widespread these days. Historian Lord Acton’s famous quote from the 1800s is timeless:  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The first proper English dictionary, published in 1755 by Samuel Johnson, defined a politician as “A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance.”

True Stories

  • A congressman from West Virginia told me about his colleague on the Appropriations Committee who said, It was a good day – I got me a bridge. Now all I have to do is build a river to go under it. Voters like bridges – it was probably named after the congressman.
  • A drunken congresswoman told me in a sloppy tearfest that she didn’t have time for environmental issues anymore because a House Leader had threatened to take away her committee chairmanship if she didn’t raise more money for her political party.
  • Once, a normally pro-oil senator unexpectedly voted to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling. We were still congratulating ourselves on the power of grassroots activism when we found out that the guy’s vote had been the result of a tennis bet between senators. He never voted with us again.
  • Even my biggest hero, the late Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota, voted against environmental protection when it came to agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. I think ADM owns half of the Midwest, and they spent $864,000 on political contributions last year (that’s in addition to the one and a half million they spent lobbying).
  • Another congressman chased a female colleague of mine around his desk trying to kiss her. That’s just gross. She had come in to talk to him about toxic pollution that was being passed to babies through their mothers’ milk.

Don’t you think I could be forgiven for being cynical? I have every reason to tune out and every reason to give up.

Maybe This One’s Different

Still, as I watched Heather Mizeur running from one side of the street to the other shaking hands and gathering energy from the cheers and thumbs up, I couldn’t help hoping. She’s young, she’s energetic, she cares passionately about justice and fairness and protecting the environment. She’s smart as all get-out and strategically savvy. She has what it takesshe could really make a difference.

And I could make a difference in getting her elected.

I caught myself thinking, maybe this one’s different; maybe she won’t be infected by the cash contributions and the tennis bets and the sticky egoic matter that pollute the cold marble halls of power.

Those “in the know” say she’s a long shot. She’s a woman. She’s gay. Her opponents include the Attorney General and the Lieutenant Governor, a couple of guys with strong political and financial connections. Heather’s a state rep.

Whatever happens with Heather, it seems inevitable  that when hope calls, I’ll pull out the poster board and magic markers and start making signs…

Photos from Friends of Heather Mizeur’s Website — I’m the one w/ the homemade sign. She’s the one in the stripes.

After all, what good is living in a democracy if we can’t hope to make a difference?

A Shout Out to America’s Labor Unions!

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Labor Day always makes me sad, even though it’s the biggest party of the year in my little town. We have a parade, a carnival, a weekend-long concert, and a beauty pageant. High points for me are the funnel cake and the PTA book sale.

Still, the day signifies getting back to work, “buckling down,” as my father used to say. Even though I do not officially “work” these days, I have to go back to school. My endless summer road trips and extended stays in New Hampshire are coming to an end. Back to schedules and lists of things to do and packed calendars.

Today, though, I want to look beyond my own self-absorbed little nose and remember what Labor Day is all about.

The Sad Truth

A Risky Parade

The first Labor Day on September 5, 1882 was a risky proposition. Organized by the Central Labor Union, ten thousand men left their jobs without permission and staged a parade up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.  Peter McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters, one of the early proponents of an eight-hour workday, gave a rabble-rousing speech and called on America to honor the industrial spirit with a special holiday – to give workers a day of recognition on par with religious, military, and civic holidays.

Peter J. McGuire (July 6, 1852 - February 18, ...

Peter J. McGuire (July 6, 1852 – February 18, 1906)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McGuire said that early September was a pleasant time of year, a perfect time to “observe a festive day during which a parade through the streets of the city would permit public tribute to American industry.”

The marchers had a picnic and then an evening dance and fireworks. They didn’t lose their jobs, and they had so much fun that they continued the tradition for years. Finally in 1887, Oregon became the first state to establish Labor Day, and thirty other states and D.C. soon followed.

The U.S. Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, celebrating “the joint partnership of capital and labor.” It remains a uniquely American holiday.

Thanks to Our Union Friends!

These aren’t very good days for labor unions – only about 11% of American workers are union members, down from more than 20% in 1983.

I could go off, here, ranting about the way Wal-Mart treats its workers or about the attempts to bust unions in certain states (Ohio comes to mind) or about how trade agreements can really screw American workers. But I won’t.

Instead, I’ll just point out that union members have median weekly earnings of $943 — $49,036 a year –while nonunion workers make just $742 a week, or $38,584 a year.

So here’s a shout out to union members and organizers – thanks for the weekend, thanks for the eight-hour workday, thanks for overtime, thanks for vacations and paid sick leave; and thanks for parades!

A special thanks to my friend Jane Perkins who was an early pioneer in Blue-Green alliance efforts to bring environmental concerns and labor concerns together. Keep marching, girl!

Jane Perkins

Jane Perkins

And because no holiday is complete without Anne Lamott, here’s a piece she wrote about Labor Day a few years ago.

Happy Labor Day!

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