What do you remember most when you think of Labor Day and Labor Day weekend?
For me, it was the annual family trip to the Rio Grande River Valley for the opening of dove season. Mom and Dad loaded up the Jeep Waggoneer which smelled like a big nasty well-smoked cigar on four wheels. Dad acquired it from Bruno Leonard, the cigar aficionado and legendary Manager of KILT Radio.
Driving down Old Highway 59 and cruising through old Texas towns like Harlingen, Refugio, Sinton, and Beeville. Sleepy towns mirrored our eyes all too ready for bed when we rolled into Rancho Viejo Country Club late at night. Joining us were my parents’ friends like Chuck and Marie Zagst. (Chuck took this picture of Marie, Mom, and Dad on one of our trips.) Mom, Dad, Marie, and Chuck have all gone to Heaven. I am certain those dove Dad shot are telling him that they never enjoyed dove season the way he did.
Eating a quick breakfast and heading out Old Military Highway to find and stake out the best shooting spot. Taking positions. Waiting anxiously for 12 noon. The repetitious sounds nearby and in the distance of other hunters shooting and getting their limits of doves for the day.
Tired. Satisfied from the hunt and with clothes soaked in salty sweat it was time to clean and pluck the feathers from the birds. (Yes. None were ever wasted. All were eaten when we got home.) After I married, Dorothy came along. She was very smart. After just one feather-plucking experience, she learned and used the lesson that the one who made Cuba Libres was exempt from this messy chore. Rum. Lime. Coke. A holy trinity of sorts consumed in an almost sacred way by bird-hunting enthusiasts in South Texas.
A quick shower upon returning to Rancho Viejo. At 10:00 pm. off to the now no longer standing Drive Inn Restaurant in Matamoros, Mexico. It was safe. No Los Zetas or drug warring Cartel gangs to fear. For $2.10 you could have three kinds of meat, iced tea, rice, guacamole, chips, salsa, queso, beans, and dessert. It took me only one Singapore Sling to persuade Dorothy to eat the fried frog legs. The first and last time for her.
Driving back to Houston at night and observing the flashing lights in the clouds to the north of Highway 59 caused by the weather anomaly of heat lightning.
Those are my fondest Labor Day remembrances. Like me, as you rest from your labors with family and friends, I hope you can thank God for your Labor Day memories. Because of polio, my body is weak. But, my memory is strong. My heart beats loudly in thanksgiving for times like this long ago.
God has spoken in Scripture about where to find rest from our labors.
My soul finds rest in God alone.
Dear God, please help me to remember to pray daily. In my prayers to You, I surely find all the rest I need.
God, I am grateful to You for the fruits of my labors that enable me to take time off from work to spend time with family and friends and to make lasting memories to savor for the rest of my days.
God, I praise You for giving me a mind, hands, and heart to earn a living and support those who depend on me.
God, please help me to remember to give more to those who have less.
God, may I strive to labor in ways that always please You.
God, last, I pray, that when my work in service to You is done, I will find eternal and everlasting rest from my labors with You in Heaven. Amen.
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.