Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Memories

Happy Labor Day! I have always loved this holiday, even though I don't think I really understood until I was grown up what the history of it is and that it wasn't originally about cook-outs and getting one last hurrah in before the summer ended.

But for me, Labor Day weekend has always been a time of getting together with friends and family and I have lots of happy memories connected to this holiday.

For one thing, my sister's birthday has always come near or on Labor Day, making it an even more perfect reason to have a celebration. Also, when we were growing up in New Jersey, we didn't start school until the Tuesday after Labor Day, so our family would often go to my grandparent's house in Maryland for the long weekend.

Part of the Labor Day weekends spent in Maryland included our immediate family going on an overnight camping trip to "The Ranch" (a rustic campground owned by two or three couples) with several other families from my mom's home church. Many of these friends were long-time friends of my parents and my mom's family and the event had evolved into a huge camp-out with at least two huge tents, as well as some campers. The adults would sit around and play games and tell stories while the kids ran around playing in the creek and having fun being together. I remember going frog hunting there and having frog legs with our campfire breakfast (tastes like chicken). I also remember getting up in the middle of the night to go to the outhouse (waiting until someone else also had to go, so I didn't have to walk out in the dark woods by myself). I don't remember how many years we went there on the Sunday night and Monday of Labor Day weekend, but those were fond memories.

After I got married, we started meeting up with our friends, Leanne and Doug, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, over Labor Day weekend (half-way point between where they lived in TX and our home in TN). We would rent a condo and meet there on Friday night (late, since it was a six-hour drive). On Saturday, the guys would usually be parked in front of the TV so they could watch all of the college football games and Leanne and I would find things to do like shopping, scrapbooking, and non-stop conversations. We'd go out to eat in Hot Springs for dinner on Saturday, but also enjoyed making meals in the condo. One year, Leanne and I went to experience the historic bath house in Hot Springs, kind of like a spa. It was always a weekend that we looked forward to each year and was a tradition for us for several years in a row (Jeanette and Russell even got to join us one year, and I think we also brought Daniel with us one time, too).

Daniel and I, along with my parents and sister and brother-in-law also spent some Labor Day weekends in Hot Springs with my Uncle Bud and Aunt Vickie (and cousins) and got to have some time on the lake in their boat. Two memorable things from those visits were me trying to get up on a jet ski after falling off (no pictures, thank the Lord) and the time my cousin was driving the boat and sent Daniel and me airborne. We were in some kind of tube thing being towed behind the boat and my cousin would drive fast and then make a quick turn, causing the tube to go flying. Sometimes we'd be able to hang on, but this one particular time, we hit a wave and it tossed me and Daniel up into the air and sent us sailing several feet out into the lake. When I got finished flipping over in the water and came up for air, I realized that my face was hurting. I thought I'd fallen on top of Daniel, but when I looked around, he was a few feet away. We swam back to the boat and climbed up and Daniel said, "Cool! Let's do that again!" I had some different sentiments and only wanted to get back to the dock. The next morning I had a black eye and all we could figure was that the impact of my face hitting the water was what did it. Fun times!

I know that Labor Day weekend traditionally is the end of summer and that is sad for some people. For me, though, I see it as the early beginnings of Fall, which is my favorite season. So bring on the changing leaves, pumpkins and cooler temps. I'm ready for Fall!


Anonymous said...

Great times at the ranch!!!!!! - the official name was "Half Mine Ranch" because it half belonged to the Armstrong's and half belonged to the Vaught's. I remember.....
The tire swing out over the creek
Trying to tell scary ghost stories around the campfire at night.
Doing #1 and #2 at the outhouse and covering it all with lyme (ugh!)
Croquet in the field
Just crossing the bridge over the creek to get to the other side of the ranch was a ton of fun.
Thanks for the smile today Nanette - I'm going to reminisce more with David later :)
Love to you and yours- Alana

Nanette R. said...

Thanks for adding to the memories, Alana! I had forgotten about the tire swing and the croquet. I also remember you getting frog blood on your new pillow shoes (or whatever they were called). Say hi to David for us!