Labor Day means family gathering time

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Natchez — Following the American tradition of more than a century, Natchez resident Darlene Toles and friends spent their Monday afternoon celebrating Labor Day.

Toles is a 16-year employee at Grace Cleaners, where she is a self-described “pants presser.”

And she has the burns on her arms where she accidentally bumped the hot pressing machine through the years to verify her labor.

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“I’ve got the scars to prove it,” she said.

Toles and friend Cynthia Hill playfully debated the rules of the card game spades while Tom Toles III grilled chicken and ribs.

“They’re just going to play it the way they want to play it,” onlooker Ferdinand Griffin said.

Hill said the friends like to get together, but gatherings like Monday’s usually happen on holidays.

“I have definitely enjoyed my day off,” Darlene Toles said.

Labor Day was first declared a federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1894, but it originally had its roots in organized labor.

The Central Labor Union — now disbanded — first came up with the idea of a holiday for the blue-collar worker in 1882.

Labor Day is now considered by many to be the unofficial end of summer.