That is, if you hail from the town of Payson, Utah, and just happen to be a Lord of the Rings fan.
Nobody can quite do Labor Day like Payson can, which is probably why Labor Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love driving down 3rd South and seeing the flurry of little families and teenagers teeming around the booths and rides at the park. Every year brings stories of how someone puked while riding the Ring of Fire, or how someone snuck their dog on that ride before rules and regulations ruined all of our fun. We haven't gone to the parade for a couple of years, but I always enjoyed seeing the faithfuls in their traditional spots, waiting for the festivities to kick off.
For me, Labor Day also signifies the unofficial end of summer; it's my last chance to work on my tan, to wear shorts, or to throw around that baseball. After Labor Day is over, it's time to pack up the shorts and pull out the sweaters and socks, time to say good-bye to long summer days and welcome back long autumn nights, time to set aside leisure pursuits and jump back into insane productivity.
As I've said before, it's a marvelous time of year. I'm never sad to see summer go (even though it feels like it was only two weeks long this year).
So, minus the parade, I had my typical Labor Day weekend.
On Friday, I
- left work a tad early (after enduring an insanely long week in anticipation of a three-day weekend),
- was stuck in traffic for two hours,
- and spent the rest of the night snacking on food and watching movies.
On Saturday, I
- went to my high school five-year reunion (yay class of 2006!). In typical Payson fashion, invitations were sent out through Facbook and no other medium (as far as I'm aware), it was held in the high school lunch room (which I never actually ate in), those who didn't pay in advance were told they could not eat, and the only people who came were the student council and a bunch of choir/band people, plus a few others (all the people I either hung out with or wanted to hang out with. . . .) And, just like in high school, my cousin and I sat in the corner and watched everyone while everyone else talked about whatever popular kids talk about (in this case it was undoubtedly spouses, babies, and work). I think the theme was: show up and talk to people in the sort-of smelly lunchroom. Maybe when I'm old like my parents (they had their 30th this weekend) I'll get to go to a non-hick HS reunion. Probably not though.
- watched the first BYU football game of the season!!! Anticipation was high at our house, and my dad and Jeremy S. celebrated by watching football for about a million hours straight. (Dad and Jeremy kept saying that we will surely play football in heaven, while Mom argued that the only thing eternal about football is the length of the games.) Nonetheless, we were all excited to see BYU play again, and even though it was a mostly boring game, BYU came out on top, making everything right in the universe once more.
- ate barbecued hamburgers and home-made sweet rolls.
- sat on the porch and talked as the sun set.
On Sunday, I
- attended church in my home ward. Sadly, though, I think most of the people my age have moved beyond coming home for the holidays.
- took a glorious Sunday nap that only comes with 9:00 church.
- watched the first half of The Return of the King.
- watched The Count of Monte Cristo (we're trying to warm Jeremy B. up to the Carters' talent for movie-watching).
And on Monday, I
- got up early (for me) and read my book outside.
- went to lunch at La Casita with the fam. It has been far too long since I have been there.
- went to Payson Community Theater's play. This year was Jekyll and Hyde and it was AMAZING. This is probably the sketchiest play PCT has ever done, and it was still toned down a bit (the "Bring on the Men" scene was a lot more awkward when I saw it in Lehi a few years ago), but, aside from the very warm and very cramped room, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jekyll/Hyde was incredible. He pretty much gave me goosebumps every time he opened his mouth. It's amazing how much talent there is in the world, even among the not famous.
- went to Grandpa Jackson's for the traditional birthday party (and this year, his birthday actually was on Labor Day). This usually means that we see see a relative we haven't seen for a long time (in this case, Shelly and some of her family) and eat fresh produce (thus the peaches reference) while enjoying one of the last nice days of the year. However, this year's Labor Day was a little bit chilly, which was perfect for . . .
- watching the final half of The Return of the King.
And, oddly enough, despite the wonderfulness of Labor Day traditions, it's usually not hard to return to reality, like it is with most other holidays. Labor Day signifies a new beginning of sorts, and who doesn't like a fresh start?