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Labor Day, workhorse of holidays

| Sunday, Sept. 3, 2006

It was the annual picnic of all the country's holidays. "Holidays have to have holidays too -- it's only right," July 4th told a reporter. "On our own day, we're too busy. You'd be surprised how much time it takes to reread the Declaration of Independence -- with expression."

The picnic grounds were swarming with news media people. One approached Flag Day. "I'm surprised you're not wrapped in the flag," he said sarcastically. (Yes, it was that kind of reporter.) "You just have that little, bitty pin in your lapel."

"Since 9/11," the Day said modestly. (He never thought himself a major day but wouldn't have missed the picnic every year and appreciated it when the others recognized him.) "Large versions of the stars-and-stripes look great, though, don't they, on homes, avenues and public places?"

"The closest thing in flags to the beauty of trees and flowers!" said Arbor Day. "Or any sprig o' green," chimed in St. Patrick's.

A roll of drums and blare of bugles marked the arrival of Veterans Day's marching crowd. "Don't you love those guys?" said Mothers Day. "In the uniforms of all the country's wars!"

"Yes, my dear," said Fathers Day. "But notice how the guys now include gals too."

Christmas pulled up in a new-model SUV, the back seats loaded with luggage, toys and gifts. "I try to keep the religious focus," he told a radio journalist. "But people do love to shop. Well, grin and bear it, say I. The spirit's what counts."

"Amen," said Easter. "But look there! Thanksgiving is here at last with all her covered dishes and pies."

"She never fails to feed us well," said George Washington, who cantered in on a horse alongside Abraham Lincoln.

"I don't think it's even one score and seven years ago that we had our own separate birthdays," said Lincoln. "But a combined Presidents' Day is all right, I reckon. He's respectable company."

New Year's Day was already a little tipsy. "I have a designated driver, though: April Fool's Day. Is that a good choice?" he asked Columbus Day, who just shook his head.

Martin Luther King Day had to deal with a reporter skeptical as to whether government employees should get the paid time off. "Let's stress the human-brotherhood aspect," the day tactfully replied.

Someone tried to interview Labor Day, but the latter swept past muttering, "Too busy," and wiping his brow. "Gotta get these tables set up, and people keep askin' questions!"

"Don't feel upset," Memorial Day consoled the rebuffed reporter. "That's why we have our annual picnic this late in the season, on his time. Somebody's got to do the work."

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