Monday, September 6, 2010

Celebrating Labor Day

LT lazed in the sun on a beautiful Labor Day morning.  This was his favorite time of year.  It wasn’t too hot, wasn’t rainy and the leaves were just starting to turn on the trees.  Considering it, he thought they were turning earlier this year, but that was probably because there hadn’t been much rain this summer.  The only things in the yard really thriving were the cactus.  He rolled himself over to get a better look at them.  Yup, they were doing well.  Green and spiny.  That’s what they were supposed to look like. 

Today was the Daddy’s special holiday, the one established to recognize and celebrate the people who worked so hard all year to make things, keep things working and do things for people.  Admittedly, Daddy wasn’t a member of a labor union, but that was because he worked for himself.  LT knew that the Mommy worked too, but didn’t think she was in a union either, even though she did work for a big company.

It was strange that the humans had made up a holiday to celebrate a purely necessary thing.  Labor was work.  Work was what you had to do in order to eat and have a place to live, at least in LT’s mind.  If you were hungry and didn’t have anyone to put out food for you, well then you went and caught it.  You defended your territory from other animals that might want to take it over and push you out.  That was work, or labor, as it were.  Although it was fun sometimes to chase bunnies or frogs, LT wouldn’t do it all the time in less he was hungry.  The same thing with defending your territory.  LT got no joy from fighting.  He was a peaceable cat, and would prefer to lie in the sun rather than attack every stray cat or creature that wandered into his yard. 

As he mused to himself Greymalkin walked into his field of vision.  “Talking to yourself, LT?  I think that’s a sign that have money in the bank, or so my human says.”  She giggled at the thought of a cat with a bank account. 

“No, just thinking about Labor Day.  It’s not really a cat holiday, is it?” 

“Where I used to live it sure was.  My mousing coop had a union and I was a member of it, well at least until I got the job of running the thing.  It was a closed shop – no one could work at the coop as a mouser unless you joined the union.  We were the Queens local of the AFM, the Associated Federation of Mousers.  We patrolled local construction sites and vacant lots to ensure that there weren’t mice or rats that could harm our humans.”  Greymalkin was proud of her work with the coop.  Under her direction they had increased the number of catches, while also improving cat satisfaction. 

“They’d unionized in Queens when the coop had been run by a group of dogs.  The dogs had no idea of how to best use our skills, and they mainly just wanted cats to go into the small dangerous places that they wanted to avoid.  So when someone had approached the cats in the coop and said they could help with working conditions, the cats jumped at it, and within months they were a union shop.  The first thing the union negotiated was that only cats could supervise cats, as they were the only ones who truly knew the skill set.  The dogs could have their own work groups, but they couldn’t just be bosses and have the cats do the grunt work.  When they realized that, the dogs got out of the business entirely.”  Greymalkin snickered at the memory of stories she’d heard of those times. 

LT thought about this.  Life must be very different for cats who lived in cities.  Around here, cats just took care of their own properties, but if there were lots of cats living in the same area, a union might be a good way to get things done, but make it fair for all the cats.  “That makes sense, Greymalkin, but I’m glad I live out here in the country where we can just do our own thing.”

Greymalkin agreed.  “I liked my job a lot, but now that I’m out here I like it better.  It’s beautiful and quiet, mostly.  In any case, I’m going to celebrate Labor Day in the time honored tradition – by not doing any!”  She lay down next to LT and the two of them just enjoyed the beautiful day. 

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