Monday, September 06, 2004

Happy Labour Day!

Happy Labour Day!

I hope everyone got The Day When We Honour Workers off, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Actually Husband and I went out to lunch and I felt guilty about the poor gals who spent their Labour Day waiting on us; well, that is until I remembered that the point of Labour Day is really to celebrate the great gains in working conditions and wages won for us by our brothers and sisters in the unions in years past. Those gains are now legislated so that even the waitresses at the local diner have limits on shift length, a minimum wage rate and legal leave and holiday rules; they are protected from being sexually or otherwise harassed or abused on the job; and they would get time-and-a-half for working on Labour Day.

I left an extra big tip anyway.

It was a perfect Labour Day weekend; sunny, cool (low twenties) and golden. Yesterday because it is autumn and because we live where we live, we made the obligatory Labour Day Weekend trip to Harvey's Big Potato. The Harveys are an old and venerable farming family in the nearby farming community of Maugerville (which naturally is pronounced "Majorville", New Brunswick pronunciation rules being to language as Australian football rules are to sport).

The Harveys' roadside stand has grown and expanded until it is a true landmark and local mecca of harvest produce, baking, arcane local small press books and homemade sweets. As with so many of these local icons, your own included I suppose, a trip to the Big Potato is not so much your average trip to the store as it is a family outing. This is not the least because you are going to actually visit The Big Potato.

This is The Big Potato. It is made of concrete and rebar and other things that frighten small children. It stands guard outside the produce stand. It stands about 5 metres high. There is apparently some kind of local legend that the artist fashioned it to be a bit of a self-portrait, which may be one of the most frightening things I've ever heard, partly because there's another face on the other side of the, uh, statue.

Anyway, we got some lovely corn and tomatoes and some new potatoes, the buying of which was really secondary to the ritual of choosing them (each shopper knowing his or her secret method for selecting the ripest and sweetest was the best) and putting them in bags; and wandering around and fondling peppers and sniffing melons and poking wholegrain bread and seeing what local historian or academic you know had written a small press book lately ("Ooh, look, Susan's put out 'Stained Glass Windows of New Brunswick Churches!'") and 'chatting' about stuff (even with paper and pen) and being side-by-side with your neighbours.

If summer must end, what a lovely way to begin to end it.



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