Those Who Labored Without Question

“This day off was brought to you by millions of workers who dedicated their lives to the struggle for labor equality, workplace safety, and the few things still fair about our jobs that we take for granted every day.” – B. G. Henson

I read this quote on a friend’s social media status yesterday and was grateful for the reminder.  Many of us plan our schedules around holidays, dates, and seasons to use the time to play catch-up, whether at work or home.  For me it was the laundry.  It then became a busy two days with many backed up domestic chores getting crossed off the list and I’d nearly forgotten the reason for the holiday and those who worked to achieve its national observance.  Sure, I was not “making money” but there certainly isn’t anyone in today’s world who would dare claim housework is not labor.  Labor Day, after all, is a day to stop all labor, if you can – if your job isn’t absolutely necessary to keep the world running.

Jackson Farmstead, Mount Pleasant, MN

Residence of my ancestor John A. Jackson's Farmstead; lithograph published by A.T. Andreas, 1874.

A good enough reason for me, I put down the mop yesterday and turned my attention to my ongoing family history project of compiling my research for CDs promised to cousins. Sure, it’s work, but also done to honor my ancestors whose labor my own could never compare. So I started to sort and compile photos and information, but seems as soon as I begin reviewing the information, I get lost in the Big Woods. No, not the Laura Ingalls Wilder novel, though the location is definitely the same place. Five generations ago, my ancestors settled claims in Minnesota, directly across the Mississippi River (Lake Pepin) from where the Charles Ingalls family lived on the Wisconsin side. I have read Laura’s books, a recommendation by my late grandmother who said Laura’s descriptions are near to exact of the life her own mother had in the Big Woods in the mid-late 1800’s.  No matter how difficult life became, my ancestors pushed on, surviving brittle cold winters in claim shanties, defeating hunger by eating only frozen rutabagas for months and clearing away the timber and stones to prepare the land for pasture or fields in the heat, rain and snow.  Their tireless pioneer spirit to labor forward with determination through excruciating struggles is nothing less than amazing.  They never questioned why – they just did what they had to do.

And that brings to mind the next day we will always remember when many did what they9-11 Memorial had to do without hesitation.  This Sunday is the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and many of you are planning something special to remember the victims and the heroes of that fateful day. If you are seeking a design to embroider for a 9/11 project, Moonlight Design is offering, once again, the 9/11 Tribute design free to download. (The zipped file contains all embroidery machine formats.) This design originally was sewn by many embroiderers who contributed garments to the volunteers at Ground Zero and featured in the December 2001 issue of Stitches Magazine, among many designs created by digitizers who contributed to “the cause”.  Please accept this design to use on any item intended for commemoration of the Firefighters whose heroism will never be forgotten, as well as for those who continue to serve.

And now, because this is a short week when many of us will be playing catch-up at work for the time off we took to celebrate it, I’ll not occupy your time with more of my words. Till next week … wishing you many smiles!

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