Sunny, sandy and salty from vacation, I’m ready to go back to work.
I hope you, too, have had the kind of summer that returns you to your labor with love. I hope you had days and nights of fun, oceans of swimming, miles of hiking and biking, new horizons of sights and sounds — plus a good stretch of thoughtless time, vacationing your hard-working brain.
Labor Day plus one will bring me back to Bay Weekly glad — as the poet Dylan Thomas wrote — “to sing in my chains like the sea.”
In hoping the same for you, I am not beyond self-interest.
Before my day starts, I’ve depended on you in so many ways that enumerating them makes my head spin.
I wake up having depended for eight hours on the mattress maker, the cotton grower and pickers, the dyers, weavers, fabric designers, the geese and their down-pluckers — not to mention the truckers, shippers, buyers, sellers, entrepreneurs, merchants and ad writers who brought those goods to me.
That’s before I’ve touched my feet on soon-to-be-replaced carpet whose fabrication is a mystery, though seller and carpet-layers linger in my memory. Beneath it is an equally mysterious pad resting on plywood framing milled and laid by whom I don’t know.
Before my feet are in my German-made wool-felt slippers, I’m in debt to all the people who laid the floors of my house down to the dug-out basement, laid drainage, plumbed, wired, poured concrete, framed, insulated, paneled, dry walled, painted — and contrived from nature and craft all the materials therein. I have well-diggers and septic system installers and the engineers who designed those systems to thank, too.
By now, I’m paralyzed. I don’t dare get dressed, for I’ll never be able to count the thousands of hands that filled my closet with clothes and shoes, my dressing table with ointments and cosmetics.
Head spinning — and quite a few steps skipped — I need a cup of coffee. Thank goodness for the coffee plantations, growers, pickers, graders and Fair Trade regulators, importers, shippers, buyers, roasters who brought that beverage to my lips. Thanks, too, to the cow for half-and-half, the farmer for keeping the cow and the dairy buyer all the way through the grocery store checker. At least I don’t use sugar in my coffee.
I don’t dare fetch my morning Washington Post, lest the thanks I have to give for its creation and delivery — not to mention Mr. Bezos — take me way past my weekly space allotment for this letter.
What this all amounts to, dear reader, is that every day is Labor Day.
Today I give you thanks for the jobs you’ve done.
Turn the page to meet 20 more working people, all Chesapeake Country neighbors, in their own words.
Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; firstname.lastname@example.org