Monday, September 03, 2012

Why Is There A Labor Day?

It's an ancient porcelain top table with a date stamped on the bottom ... 1929. It was covered with old clothes and canning jars and sat in my grandmother's basement for decades. When she died, Daddy found it and carted it home. Eventually, it ended up with me. There's barely a scratch on it.

Today, it sits in the middle of my old farmhouse kitchen. The table holds pies and cookies to cool, bowls of fruit, and cookbooks when needed. It's the perfect height for grandchildren to color or make Popsicles. It's a workhorse. A relic to the time when every kitchen had a workhorse table. I've always wished for a modern kitchen with all the bells and whistles. But I think I'd miss this old table.

I was born in the middle of the 20th century. I've grown up with technology. I love what it can do for us, how it can make our lives easier. Faster. I'm not sure I could write like I do without my computer and laptop. Smart phones and Blue Ray players. HD television and GPS systems. Lord knows, we've worked hard to keep up with it all. I've come a long way since that old Royal manual typewriter I learned on.

But there's something to be said about my old kitchen. Farm living forces you to slow down. Take a break. To stop and feel the breezes blowing through open windows. To listen to the sounds of early morning cows and horses, watch storms roll in, taste fresh tomatoes from the garden. There's always a barn cat or two with a mouse in its mouth. Views of pastures in every direction. It makes you breathe and grateful to be alive. Makes you realize ... you can do without technology for a day.

It's Labor Day. A time to remember how the past labored a whole lot harder than we did. The original family who lived in our old farmhouse were up with the chickens and to bed with the sun. They seldom ventured more than twenty miles from home. They read books by lamplight and slept on the porch on hot summer nights. The news came in spurts via newspapers, or a gossiping neighbor. They lived off the land and the sweat of their brow, and never dreamed that someday a writer would roll out pies inside their house after a morning of talking to friends in cyberspace.
Trouble is, we got so busy we had to come up with Labor Day. A day to not only appreciate the laborers in our country, but give them a day off. The world has gone and got itself in a big hurry. I like a simple life. A life that includes an old farm, a black and white kitchen floor, and a workhorse table from 1929. I wish every day was Labor Day.
Blessings to you and yours.


Lynn said...

I thought this was a picture from Better Homes and Garden! Love this kitchen. Liked the post, too. I'm a firm believer in the power of the kitchen table. Life and death decisions are made around them.

Julie said...

Your kitchen is much more MODERN than about 100 years :-) I don't know which is more important: kitchen table or desk. Always a toss up.

Pamela King Cable said...

Thanks, Lynn and Julie! It's cleaner in the picture than it usually is. :-)