Okay, I'm going to take a more serious approach to our Labor Day blog hop, because Labor Day does exist for a reason other than giving people a three-day vacation.
As lovely as hardworking men can be -- and as much as we find our own hardworking men the loveliest -- there was a time in this country when the labor movement was much more about courage and sacrifice than ogle-worthy construction workers.
My parents owned three different blue-collar taverns in Milwaukee at three different times. I grew up in the second and third. These were neighborhood joints that never pretended to be anything other than what they were: local gathering places, where factory and road workers could score a free lunch, courtesy of my mother, or listen to the jukebox and gab over cold, cheap beer after they'd punched out for the day.
This was a time when American workers were dedicated and proud, a time when strong unions kept corporate greed from running rampant and sending jobs to sweatshops overseas. There was no out-sourcing. Shoppers found U.S.-made cars on the highways and goods in the stores. Wal-Mart hadn't yet become an economic satellite of China. Products were well built -- not just some of the guys who made those products.
But the strength of our workforce came at a price. A steep one. In their attempts to battle deplorable working environments, long hours, low wages, and other unbearable conditions of their employment, people lost their meager livelihoods . . . and their lives. Women who toiled in textile mills and shirt factories, men who slaved away in mines and on railroads and elsewhere finally shouted, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore!"
They banded together and rebelled. Changes came. But, sad to say, much of the ground that was gained has been lost.
So, when Labor Day rolls around, I invariably think of the pioneers of the labor movement. And the patrons of my parents' taverns. And the people who are still fighting to receive or retain their rights.
That doesn't mean, though, I can't eye up a great-looking lifeguard or stable hand. Nuh-uh.
Keep in mind the winner is free to replace my LSB novel InDescent with another from my backlist. I realize stories about men loving men aren't everybody's cup of tea.
You only have to leave a comment at this post, by the way. Not the one that precedes it.