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Posted: September 4, 2012 8:45 p.m.

Travis: Labor Day does it right

I had a perfectly wonderful Labor Day. In fact, I told my husband's brother and his son as they were leaving that I believed Labor Day might be my favorite holiday.

We went to what I call my husband's cabin. It is a small place off the beaten path and on a pond. My husband loves it there. It's peaceful and quiet. All my children and grandchildren were there, and I got to enjoy being with just my family without the other distractions that often go with other holidays.

My husband did most of the cooking and using disposable plates and such made cleanup not the usual long-drawn-out affair it can often be. It was an absolutely lazy day. The only chore was deciding whose turn it was to ride in the golf cart while my grandchildren, with dreams of driving something larger and faster, drove that cart incessantly up and down the dirt driveway.

Other holidays require too much effort. Valentine's Day means finding out addresses and choosing cards that are not too mushy and too risqué for my tastes. It also requires some fancy cooking on my part. (I am generally not a fancy cook.)

The Fourth of July not only requires cooking but also deciding how or when or where to attend the parade and fireworks. I have to admit, I am oh so happy that the city of Covington has, for the last two years, had fireworks and brought them back downtown. They were just beautiful this year. While The Church at Covington has been generous in hosting previous fireworks, the event belongs near the square.

Halloween is getting to be as much of a commercial event as Christmas. I saw jack-o-lanterns for sale before Labor Day. You can purchase door hangings, yard decorations and even skeleton and pumpkin lights to decorate for the occasion. No longer do children put on old clothes and trick-or-treat as hobos or gypsies. I once decked my older daughter out as Princess Leia, complete with buns over her ears, with a sheet and a big fancy belt borrowed from my mother-in-law. Now children, or rather their parents, need to purchase costumes depicting the latest super hero or a character from the latest children's movie. They also have to carry a special bucket to pile their candy in. This is all before purchasing the candy to go in those buckets.

Thanksgiving requires, I don't know why, getting out special china and silver and linens. The amount of cooking required and the planning and shopping for all the accoutrements can be exhausting. I know it doesn't have to be. But tell that to my husband.

I don't even need to remind you of the trauma of Christmas. Christmas cards, just the right presents and decorating. I feel like I have climbed the Matterhorn when I finally get that tree decorated. I keep threatening not to put one up, but I do. And Christmas sales and decorations are in the stores before Halloween. Then comes all the same uproar about the Christmas meal that went with Thanksgiving. When all that is over, you (I am anyway) are left with the quiet and dreary chore to taking everything down and putting it away for another year.

New Year's Eve is quiet holiday for my husband and me, and one without children and grandchildren. We have a tradition of staying home with a bottle of good wine and a steak. I like that just fine, and we are usually asleep when it is time to sing "Auld Lang Syne."

My daughter says when you take food to someone in a pan that does not have to be returned, it is a no-obligation gift because no one has to remember to return a pan. I guess you could call Labor Day a no-obligation holiday.

You are able to enjoy family and food and be lazy all at the same time. No pressure to set a perfect table or decorate to the nines.

An added bonus for Labor Day is that it is a promise that fall is near. The stifling weather is about over and we will be able to enjoy outdoor pastimes for the glorious season of fall. The beauty of fall in Georgia makes up for the doldrums of August and early September.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day too.


Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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