Federal holidays are celebrated for a number of reasons. Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the first Monday in September. PJ McGuire, Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, is frequently credited as the father of Labor Day in the United States. The day was designed to honor and recognize the American labor movement, as well as the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. Of course, many people simply look at these “three-day weekend” holidays as a great day to go out of town, sleep in on a normal workday, barbecue, or play golf or some other sport. That wasn’t exactly the plan with these, but many of them do have special events attached to them, such as parades or other celebrations.

Labor Day began in the late 19th century, with the first Labor Day being Tuesday, September 5, 1887. As the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. Still, it was not celebrated everywhere at that time. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. Labor Day didn’t become an official federal holiday, until 1894, when thirty states in the US officially celebrated Labor Day. Of course, these holidays didn’t get changed to “Monday Holidays” until the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act on enacted June 28, 1968. At that time, that made Washington’s Birthday and Memorial Day, as well as Columbus Day permanently on a Monday.

Of all the holidays that are celebrated on Mondays, Labor Day is probably the one that really is somewhat designed for a “three-day weekend” kind of celebration. We were, after all celebrating workers and all they had accomplished. When Labor Day was proposed, there was disagreement among labor unions about when a holiday celebrating workers should be. Some people advocated for continued emphasis of the September march-and-picnic date, while others wanted the designation of the more politically charged date of May 1. If you ask me, a May 1st picnic day has a much greater chance of getting rained out, than a September date, but that’s just my opinion. In the end, the September date won out, and now Labor Day is often viewed the “unofficial end of summer” because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. Many take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend. Many fall activities, such as school and sports (particularly football), begin about this time. I’m not sure how many people really think about the labor side of the holiday at all. Nevertheless, they all enjoy the three-day weekend, and all the fun it includes.

My son-in-law, Travis Royce is a man of many talents, who never brags on himself. He is really a very humble man. He loves do home improvement projects and make things in general. Last year, while his family was visiting us out in Wyoming, Travis was home building a beautiful patio area for Amy at home. Because Travis and Amy like to make wine, Travis wanted to incorporate wine into the design, so he used wine bottles as the spindles on the rail. It is such a cool, and unique idea, a one that is not surprising when Travis makes something. He has really unique ideas, and with his tendency to try to surprise people with his work, Travis is a man with a flair for the unexpected.

According to my granddaughter, Shai Royce, her dad “loves home improvement projects, reading, especially about history, comedy, Kung Foo, football, playing guitar, and the three of us.” The three of them being his family, my daughter, Amy, and their kids, Shai and Caalab. Most of Travis’ likes were things I knew about, but Kung Foo surprised me. Not sure what to make of that, I asked Shai is he was taking classes in Kung Foo, but she said no, almost laughing I’m sure, it’s Kung Foo movies he likes. In fact, he and Shai used to watch Kung Foo movies together when she was a little girl. Travis loves to barbecue and entertain. He is a great cook, often cooking breakfast for his family, but he is really in his element when he is barbecuing. He loves making wine to share with his family and friends, and what better time to share wine than when you have friends over to barbecue. With Travis sense of humor, it’s always great time.

The past couple of years, Travis has stepped out of his element to a degree, when the whole family decided to bowl on a bowling league. It was a lot of fun for all of them this year, and they were more than a little bit surprised to find that they had taken fist place. They have been invited to bowl in a county wide tournament for the county championship in Bellingham this Saturday and they are looking forward to that. Then, they found out that Travis had taken most improved bowler award…improving his average by 13 pins. I’d say that it has been a pretty good year for Travis, and we wish him many more great years in the future. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day! We love you!!

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