Ruminations on Labor Day

A whole bunch of thoughts are rumbling through my mind, many of which might upset some folks more rigid in their thoughts than i am. i hope not.

But as i went on a power walk this morning, it occurred to me “Labor Day” is mislabeled. i mean why would you call it Labor Day when everyone is doing everything but laboring. The idea seems to have gotten cattywhampus anyway. It seems to me folks are not going to find satisfaction by having nothing to do even though that appears what labor unions want — and big business keeps ensuring there is a necessity for labor unions, so i’m not arguing for or against. i would think most folks, certainly me, would want to have productive work that gives me satisfaction where i am paid for what it’s worth, not to do nothing nor to amass a fortune far beyond what my work is worth. My time at sea in the Navy and writing sports worked for me.

Guess i missed something growing up

* * *

Then, when i got back and was cooling off from my walk (after all it was 71 degrees in the Southwest corner at midday , checking email, Facebook, etc., i somehow ended up listening to a stream of blues, original blues, 1950’s/60’s blues on YouTube (or whatever jumbling of real words that site is named). The folks who sang are the ones to whom i listened after nine in Joe’s and my second floor room at 127 Castle Heights Avenue on WLAC AM Radio with Big John R, Hoss Allen, and Gene Nobles.

i just sorta stopped what i was doing and listened.

It occurred to me that years ago, my ancestors and others bought and continued to enslave people who happened to have different skin pigmentation. In a way, looking at the way they faced adversity, from a different perspective, it freed those who were enslaved. If you listen to that music, that blues by the people who lived it, their ancestors set them free, even though they have faced abuse and prejudice, they are free in many ways. And folks with my skin pigmentation became enslaved to cockamamie ideas about equality, which enslaves them to this day.

Lord, lord, i love the blues. Not the stuff they play today that sounds like blues, but the folks who sang it because it was part of their life.

Sorry if i have offended anyone, but today, i just felt like saying it.

3 thoughts on “Ruminations on Labor Day

  1. I too listened to John R, Hoss Allen and Gene Nobles. I would drag a quilt outside in the backyard, a radio with a long extension cord, and lie there immersed in the blues music. When we went back to Oklahoma to visit, WLAC was the only familiar radio station we could get so i could still hear the blues.

  2. We were able to get WLAC late at night, around 11PM through about 1 AM in way south Arkansas, loved, loved, loved it. Much later I was blessed to witness some of those great artists in person, Ray Charles and Bobby “Blue Bland among them but there was something incredibly and especially magical about listening to the Blues on WLAC late at night when I was 13 and hanging out with my older brothers and their friends deep in the woods of South Arkansas.

    On another note in re to your thoughts on Labor and the sanctity of work, Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “Life offers no greater reward than to work hard at work worth doing!”

    1. Thanks, David.

      i saw quite a few of those bluesmen later, including Ray Charles at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1968 sitting on a hill side, a great pleasure. i saw him at the Tennessee Fairgrounds when i was a Vandy freshman, several more in various places, and finally at Humphreys by the bay here the year before he died.

      Someday, i will write about my misadventures at the New Club Baron, the go-to black night club on Jefferson Street in Nashville. i saw Otis Redding there when he showed up after his big show downtown. There were only two white (sic) folks there, me and my buddy.

      And Teddy and i agree on a lot of things.

      Thanks again.

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