Growing up in Hamilton, Labour Day was always about two things: the Labour Day Parade, and the Labour Day Classic.
I went to the Labour Day Parade with my father many times. He’s a proud lifelong USW member, and he was a Chief Steward at Stelco for a number of years. When I also became a Hamilton Steelworker years later, I was too busy getting ready for school to go to the parade and my father stopped going when I was a teenager because, by that time, I’d grown out of that sort of thing. Thinking back on it now, I imagine he was probably hurt by that – at least a little bit, though I’m sure he’d never admit it – but, at the same time, he was a teenager himself once, and I think he’d understand how selfish they can often be. Through my own experiences in the rollercoaster world of parenting, I’ve come to realize many things I didn’t even consider back then, and the experience has made me a different, better person – albeit an exhausted one.
Today, my friend took his son to the Labour Day Parade in Toronto. He invited me along, and suggested I bring Daughter Number One with us, but I passed up the opportunity to go because I just didn’t feel like spending the last day of summer wandering the scorching streets of Hogtown with my four-year-old. In retrospect, I certainly feel guilty about not going, but we also had a good day just sticking around the house, so that makes it easier to take.
He brought back a parade t-shirt for Daughter Number One, and it’s perfectly suited to our family tree.
It’s even Oskee Wee Wee black and yellow. Can you get a more Hamilton shirt than that? A special addition to her wardrobe, and one that we’ll definitely keep in a safe place when she grows out of it.
On the Steeltown front, the Tiger-Cats were busy today hosting the Labour Day Classic at their new home – Tim Hortons Field. I’m not a fan of corporate-named stadiums, but, as you probably know, the very first Tim Hortons store – on Ottawa Street – is just down the road from the new field, so, as far as this one goes, appropriate is the best adjective I can use to describe how I feel about it. The city’s synonymous with “Canada’s favourite coffee”, but even though it’s certainly not my favourite coffee, it is a fitting name for the place.
The Tabbies won today – by a slim margin – and the text messages were pouring in from everybody back in the Steel City. My brother and one of my friends were at the game – sending pictures of their seats and the field – and one of my other friends lives in the same neighbourhood as the stadium, and he told me “the city exploded when they scored.”
I’m not really a rabid – bad pun intended – Tiger-Cats fan, but it’s good to see the home team win for a change. They’ve had a hard season – switching stadiums, losing quarterbacks, battling injuries – so I’m sure today’s win against the hated team from Toronto was a good shot in the arm for the team and the city.
Today, Labour Day means something else to me. It means that I start labouring again tomorrow. I’m not fishing for sympathy, believe me. I know I’m lucky in that respect.
But since I do have to work in the morning . . .