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Labor Day

Labor Day

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4 September 2017

Faithful readers will remember we don't work on national holidays. But we do put our feet up and spin a yarn, only a bit off topic, to celebrate. Today is no exception.

Old Tools. Dad's hammer, Grandpa's carpenter's pencil.

Except we have nothing at all to say.

Our 2015 piece celebrated labor while detailing a few modern abuses. Our 2016 piece recast a Lewis Hine photo while reflecting on child labor.

Inspiring pieces. They inspired a few people to let us know the Dept. of Labor link in the 2015 piece was broken. Well, a new administration, we thought. Why would it be particularly any more friendly to labor than the environment or health care?

But we found where the page had gone and you can (silently) thank Henry Malkemus for being the first to bring it to our attention.

It is worth pointing out the ingenuity of our correspondents, all of whom recommending swapping out the Dept. of Labor link with something else. That's not really how the game is played.

We don't swap out a public Web site link for ones from private companies. We think you know why, too.

But as we said, we have nothing to say today.

We were prompted for some unknown reason to take this photo of some old tools this morning in the strange, wildfire-smoke colored light. Then, moving the image from card to computer, we heard a flock of parrots take their usual western flight overhead to the southwest corner of the city.

It wasn't their wings we heard. It was their chat. They always have something to say.

They may call you a dreamer, but you won't be the only one.

But they probably don't think of it as work.

Nor did Grampa when he took up that red carpenter's pencil to draw either a thick or a thin line on some lumber that had to be cut to fit the house he was building for his family in Albany, Calif. A house that's still standing, we note.

And we suspect Dad didn't think it was work to build the knotty pine room in the open basement of his first home in Daly City. We remember marveling at the sweat dripping off his face as he hammered his way around those walls.

He wasn't building a study or a den, though. He was building a playroom for his four boys.

No, not work.

But, in a funny way, we can't help thinking of the work they did with these tools in their hands. Which is why we thought to take a photo of the tools this morning.

They both built a better life for their families than they had had.

Grandpa had to leave Italy to do it, arriving in time for the Army to send him straight back to Italy in World War I. He took a bullet or two there but that made it possible for him to bring his girlfriend over, marry her and start a family.

And Dad, working as a journalist, put four sons through college, which these days would merit a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Work is something you do because some supervisor or boss or client asks you to do it, with the promise -- often unfulfilled -- of adequately compensating you for the inconvenience.

But a labor of love is something you do willingly without expecting anything in return.

The thing that struck us this morning, looking at that pencil and hammer, was that if you really want to be "disruptive," really want to "make things happen," really want to "change the world," devote your energy to building a better life for your loved ones.

They may call you a dreamer, but you won't be the only one. Not in a nation built by dreamers.

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