It seems like just yesterday that I was taking out my whites for the summer and extolling the virtues of summer clothing etiquette. Here it is already Labor Day, a day when putting the whites back in the attic until next Memorial Day is but one holiday ritual of many, around here anyway.
Another Labor Day ritual, as far back as I can remember, is checking in throughout the weekend with Jerry Lewis and cheering on his efforts to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy research. I think it’s great that he’s still at it. Where I grew up, Labor Day also meant taking one final swim in the neighborhood pool and heading home to dread the start of a new school year.
Where I live now, in Kensington, Maryland, four miles over the D.C. line, Labor Day is huge. The last time I checked, the Town of Kensington’s Labor Day Parade had the acclaim of being the largest small-town parade in the state. The parade spotlights our local businesses and scout troops, beauty queens and politicians. And in an election year such as this, the politicians might even outnumber the marching bands. We even have an occasional protester.
Among scores of floats carrying our local hip hop teams and square dancers, garage bands and artisans, we can always count on seeing best-selling author and quirky television commentator Matthew Lesko, who works under the moniker The Free Money Guy. Can’t place him? He appears on TV in a suit covered in neon question marks. His car is painted in the same pattern.
You might know Kensington. We were hit tragically by the 2002 snipers, and in 2001 we received national news coverage when our mayor banned Santa Claus from the Town’s annual tree lighting ceremony, only to be stormed by hundreds of Santa-clad protestors, most of whom rode in on Harleys.
We’ve been a town since 1894 which, coincidentally, is the year Labor Day became an official national holiday. So I’m off this morning for the parade, then to the closet for the end-of-summer ritual and finally, to the television for the traditional telethon finale, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Then I’ll officially call it a summer.