Steel worker (
by Steve Timmer
Sep 1, 2014, 9:00 AM

Labor Day

Okay, an admission: I did not spend most of my life working with my hands or my back, unless you consider writing with a pen, or later with a keyboard, working with your hands. But I come from working people, and I would still be pleased to be called one.

I did spend time in my youth working on farms, and in a factory and a warehouse for a while; the people that I worked with taught me how to work. Well, and kidded me a little, too. But in important respects, they were among the most valuable mentors I’ve ever had. And I probably never thanked a single one of them.

Well, shame on me. I can’t really thank them now; I’d just be thanking memories. I will bet a lot of you are just like me in this regard. But there is something that you can do.

Roofing a house

Roofing a house

This was one of the fellows who reroofed our house a couple of weeks ago. Unimaginably hard work: wiry young men who hoisted sacks of shingles on their backs, staggered by the weight, and carried them two stories up a ladder.

This, my friends, is harder than using a keyboard.

But at least this time, I did manage to thank the members of the crew for their efforts. I could tell that they weren’t used to it, but that they did appreciate it.

So, I encourage you to — in addition to your usual Labor Day celebration — take a moment once in a while for a personal Labor Day to thank a working person; it will be good for him or her, and it will be good for you, too.

Update: And remember, labor rights are human rights.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.