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Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Weekend Crow story and Camden Harbor

A Crow and Labor Day Weekend

Cory Crow pondered with his mouth full of corn. It was about to be Labor Day Weekend. Were the people about to start celebrations in advance of it? The summer had flown so quickly. Only 8 weeks earlier it had been the 4th of July. He had known then that the summer would fly by in so few weeks. Many visitors would be heading back south over the weekend or just after. They were returning to warmer places. They had been relieved to escape the heat of their homes and lands. They did not give it much thought that they had lots more warm weather to come home to. Leaving the north behind, they forgot how cold it would get for Cory Crow and the people in his lands, and how quickly, and for how long. Cory never gave it much thought though. He was glad however the weather happened. For him it was just part of the way things were. He was glad to be able to fly around in search of a meal or two every day. To holler back and forth with other crows. To let them know where he had found some food to share. To warn them when he had spotted possible danger. And they did the same at whatever they saw. Cory and his fellow crows were a noisy group. Their calls or caws had to reach over a long distance so their calls were loud.

It would be the last time for the season that it made sense for people to hold their outdoor sales. Cory knew of a large yard sale close by. He had watched as the seller started setting it up several days before. He had made lots of big tables with planks and sawhorses. He had covered these with plastic tablecloths - to protect the boards from possible rain, and perhaps to keep shoppers from getting splinters,. Those plastic covers had been billowing in the strong winds that were blowing. They were well clipped down and only occasionally looked as if they might blow away. The winds were possibly from the hurricane and now tropical storm that had been thumping the lands much further south. Cory could just imagine what the oceans around were up to. He might go take a look at that over the weekend.

This year the children had gone back to school before the Labor Day holiday. In past years they always went back after Labor Day. But he had seen the yellow school buses start up again a week earlier. Parents eagerly sent the littlest children off to their very first day of school. Other parents were dropping their children off to a first year at college, and some to their last year of college. These were days loaded with importance for these parents and their offspring. The children were perhaps not as concerned with the importance of such milestone markers. The older children were only thinking of the freedoms that they could take up. No more parental controls. They could party as they wished. No one to tell them when they had to come home. They could make friends with whomever they wished. They could study when they wished. No parents to nag them about doing their studies. No nagging about chores that needed doing around the house. Clean the kitchen, wash the dishes, take out the trash, rake the leaves, mow the lawn, do the laundry, make your bed, clean your room, vacuum the house, wash the car, babysit your younger siblings. There seemed to be no end to the work that parents wanted their older children to do.

On one of the days of this holiday weekend, some families would gather for cookouts to mark the end of the summer and the 3 day weekend and the start of the school year and the start of a new season. Cory wondered what people would be cooking. There were the very traditional hotdogs and hamburgers. The grills would be fired up and the meats slapped over the charcoals or the gas fired stove. Cory much preferred the taste of a charcoal fire. The gas fire did not seem to add much to the food other than some blackening and browning of the actual foods. Charcoal had an extra flavor to it.

Then he got wondering what charcoal actually was. Were those briquettes really pieces of wood or were they made from coal somehow? Some people used other kinds of fuel to cook over. Some even made real wood fires to cook over. The thought of that made Cory drool, even though he was a bird. Besides, charcoal was the same fine black color that his own feathers were.

What had he seen that fellow set out for the big yard sale? He had left it with boxes spread all about and covered with more tarps. There was a big sign that said "Lawn sale - NO early birds. 8AM opening". He had taped off the yard sale so that it looked like a construction site or a crime scene. There had been a large plastic bag filled with something not quite heavy enough to withstand the winds. It had blown a bit away from the marked off area and looked like it was trying to get across the street. Each gust of wind began to lift it and seemed just about to pull it out into the road into the path of all that traffic rushing by. But the seller had found the errant bag in time and brought it back to the corralled area.

There would be a festival in a nearby town over the weekend. The big historic windjammers would convene there. They would make a parade of sails. They would have a few sailing races. They would open their boats for landlubber tours. At the harbor there would be activities like pirate enactors, boatyard dogs exhibiting their skills, and perhaps a lobster crate race. Vendors would exhibit some sailing related crafts and food vendors would feed visitors. The event would drop a lot of leftovers on the ground for Cory and his friends to collect. It would be good pickings for Cory and the Crow band.

Cory knew of a teacher who was thrilled at the start of the school year. She had retired the year before. She had done so with great eagerness. But had greatly underestimated what it would be like to really be done with her job, something she had loved all her life and done all her life. It had taken her only one year to realize she was not done with teaching. She would not have a class but would assist in the school and the classroom. She would not have the kind of politicking and red tape to deal with that the regular classroom teachers had. She was very eager to be starting school again.

Some families still had last minute shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies to do. The children still needed lunch boxes, pencil boxes, notebooks and papers, crayons, pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, glue, bookbags or knapsacks, new sets of pants, sweaters, shirts, skirts, dresses, socks, sneakers, jackets, hats.

The children were always so proud of their new things. They posed proudly showing their clothes and supplies for the waiting camera lenses. Parents took pictures of their children as they waited for the school bus or as they got on the school buses. And the parents would be waiting at the buses return at the end of the school day wanting to know how the first day had been. And how had the day been without the parent there.

Cory Crow had a lot to ponder over this weekend. LIfe would simply go around for him in the natural order of things. What was the weather on any single day? What did that day's weather bring for him to work with? The people would go about their traditions. Cory had different cycles to pursue.

Cory Crow went to visit Sammy Squirrel.
Cory - what have you been up to Sammy?
Sammy - just pondering - why the people think they have to have a Labor Day.
We work and play all in one. It does not matter to us whether we are working or playing. In a way it is the same thing for us. I love to do my work. What is my work? It is my way. It is what I have to do because I am Sammy Squirrel, a squirrel. I have to run around and find food. I have to put a lot of food away for winter. (But the secret is that I'm really helping to plant trees and forests and other kinds of plants. I have to make my nests so I have a place to stay warm and out of the weather in winter, so that I will be here after the winter so that I can plant the seeds again - and round and round we go, every year, every time the days get short and then start gettting long again.
Why do you think the people have a Labor Day?

C - It looks like a door of some kind. The people have been playing a lot outside in the summer, in the warm weather. They have been at the beaches by the ocean and the lakes. They have played in the water. Played with the sand. Played sports. Done a lot of cooking outside at their grills. But now they have done a lot of shopping for when school starts. After this day I see the yellow buses on the road again. They are full of children. The buses make lots of stops picking up children early in the morning and bringing them to the schools. Then after the children have been sitting inside the schools at their desks, they go back in the buses and have to ride quite a bit before the buses let them off close to their houses.

Is Labor Day one last fling before all this being cooped up inside starts? Now I really want to know why they have Labor Day. You and I Sammy don't have to stay inside so long most days the way the people do. We are outside no matter what the weather is. You sleep through the rough parts but I see you out there all winter digging up your seeds from deep in the snow. I like to follow you around and steal some of the seeds and nuts you dig up. We sometimes have a good game of that don't we!

C: I was watching a big yard sale  most of the day today. ... They have a lot of stuff left. I think the Seller Man got the stuff from an old house he was cleaning up and getting ready to fix up. I think the house may have belonged to some older people who died recently. Their kids want to sell the house and had to clean out all the things in it. It had taken these people all their life to collect all these things. All these things they thought they wanted. And now that stuff is sitting out there on someone else's lawn. People have been buying much of it. That is like you spreading the seeds around Sammy! But there is still a lot of stuff on those tables, and it is late in the day. I think I can hear the Seller guy spreading tarps over the tables now so that he can continue the sale tomorrow. I think he usually only does his sales for one day. But it may have been an odd Labor Day weekend because so many visitors had to go home  week befor already. Even here the kids started school before Labor Day.

Catinka Knoth 9/4/17
first draft


  1. You are so very clever/ I look forward to your posts and art. Keep up the great works.
    New York

    1. Thank you Petrina! Your work certainly inspires me!