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Labor Day

I was in the mood for a holiday serenade. It was a lovely morning. I’d gone out as the sun was coming up over the slough, said hello to the dog, and let the ducks and chickens out in the orchard. My next stop was the greenhouse to check on the lettuce, tomatoes and the three baby limes on my lime tree. From there I went into what I call my summer kitchen, which is actually just a place where I can make a mess without imperiling my marriage. The grape juice, apple juice and pear juice were all fermenting nicely. I don’t know if the end result is going to be tasty, but I don’t have a very sensitive palate, so it’ll have to be pretty bad before I won’t be able to choke it down. I went back into the house and waited until my wife got up and I greeted her with a stunning rendition of “Baby Face.”

You know. “Baby face, you’ve got the cutest little baby face...” Since you can’t see me doing the actions, you aren’t getting the full effect, but I’m confident my wife found the performance stunning.

I was wavering between following with my take on “Good Morning, Starshine” or “The Silver-Tongued Devil,” but by the time I’d decided, she had left the room.

I understood completely. Even though we’ve been married a long time, she’s still not comfortable showing how strongly my singing affects her.

The night before we’d talked about what to do on Labor Day and I’d listed several labors on my list. She told me I didn’t understand the meaning of the holiday and an alternative plan was to meet our children and grandchildren on a farm that was hosting a breakfast and tours.

I was pretty sure I was reasonably well informed about what went into a farming operation, but the breakfast was free and I’m working on my ability to spend a day goofing off, so we went.

I quit farming a couple years before our oldest granddaughter was born. I think about that now and then, how there is this other person inside me they never knew. Riding on a hay wagon as the farmer/host explained all the equipment and how farming worked, I stifled the urge to make educational and illuminating comments. When he got to the place where he told how he didn’t use worm medicine because he was selecting breeding stock resistant to parasites, I choked back the urge to inform everyone that a farm magazine had sent me to New Zealand ten years ago to write a story about the sheep farmer who was pioneering this trick. When Number 5 wanted to take a side trip to look at the baby pigs, I went with him and did not mention that although they were cute, the cuteness wears off a little after seeing the first ten thousand or so.

On the way home, we drove through a car lot. My wife has been car shopping, though not very seriously, for some time, and the first car we noticed was a Cadillac Escalade on sale for $97,000.00. I told her, “I don’t think you’re the Escalade type.”

She pretended to bristle a little and asked, “And just why not?”

I said, “Because I can’t imagine you’d be willing to pay $100,000.00 for a car no matter how much money you had or how much you liked it.”

She shrugged. “Fair point.” We moved back a couple of rows, and down more than a few digits.

By this time the freshness of dawn was long gone, and we were flirting with triple digit temperatures, so we headed for home and central air conditioning. This was a Labor Day where I had successfully avoided almost all forms of labor.

All I had left to do was to tell you about it.

Copyright 2023 Brent Olson

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