Football is back and summer is passing away

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

By Bonnie Brown

Yes, here it is!  Summer’s final fling or as we call it — Labor Day.   This holiday honors the struggles, contributions, and achievements of American workers and was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century.  It became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed the declaration into law. However, according to History.com, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.  Some identify Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor as the founder of this workingman’s holiday, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire (similar last name), a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.  Whoever came up with the idea should also get some credit for the traditions associated with this holiday.

I remember when I was a youngster, school didn’t begin until after Labor Day.  And the merchants capitalized on that juncture as the opportunity to put on some dandy sales which lured every mother to their stores to take advantage of these low prices mostly on clothing, notebooks, and pencils.  And my mom was right there along with the other mothers, buying school clothes and supplies—along with many “clearance” items.

Then there is the “rule” that you can’t wear white after Labor Day.  So, you may be busy packing away all your white clothing this weekend.  Or not.  Because wearing white was often associated with wealth.  According to Farmer’s Almanac, “wearing white became a visible way to separate the wealthy from the working class in the early 1800s. Affluent people could afford to take vacations and by wearing white, they visually asserted that they didn’t need to work.”  But honestly, we no longer adhere to this tradition.  Or at least not to the degree that you never see folks outfitted in white or cream during winter unless, of course, you opt for heavier fabrics.

Back in my day, you most certainly either hosted or attended a barbeque on Labor Day weekend where a game of horseshoes was a given.  There were parades in some communities.  Labor Day signaled the close of the public pools since the weather most predictably cooled soon after.

And then there’s college football!  Yes!  My husband leads up to this “season” by watching replays of college football games.

Our Ole Miss Rebels will be hosting Troy University for this Labor Day weekend opener.   We welcome the Trojans and hope they enjoy Oxford and The Grove along with all the Rebel fans who have looked forward to this game all summer long.  We are eager to see Vaught-Hemingway come alive with the sounds of football—the cheering crowd, the Hotty Toddy cheer, and the melodious sounds of The Pride of the South Band.  Let’s not forget tailgating.  Those delicious foods that can be eaten while renewing friendships and enjoying that perfect setting beneath the canopy of those beautiful old trees.  And there’s always the confident boasting that the Rebels will prevail and perhaps there will be a sighting of “the Juice,” Coach Kiffin’s new pup.

I think the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche (German philosopher, poet, and composer) says it all: “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”  While nature does provide the cues of a new season, we feel autumn in our soul.  Fall announces Halloween and the coming holiday season.

So, show the Troy University fans some good ol’ Southern hospitality.  Enjoy the long weekend, fire up the grill, feel the change of the seasons, and revel in the long-awaited football game.  What’s not to love about autumn’s arrival?  Unless it’s the raking of leaves.

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@oxfordeagle.com.