Last days of summer…

The first Monday in September is when the United States celebrate Labor Day – yes I am using American spelling! It is meant to be a yearly tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength and prosperity of their country. (In New Zealand, Labour Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday in October.)

As so many people have a day off work, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers which results in around 24% of American workers having to not only work on the holiday but often work longer hours too – unfortunately it’s the same in New Zealand.

GAP's Labor Day enticement.
GAP’s Labor Day enticement.

Most Americans now celebrate Labor Day as the symbolic end of summer. In days gone by Labor Day was the last day of the year when it was appropriate to dress in white.

white after labor day

Labor Day is marked by get togethers with family and friends; outdoor activities such as boating, street parties and cook outs; and there are often fireworks displays. It’s typically the last day that outdoor pools are open for business so we made sure the long weekend included a trip to our favourite swimming spot at Cacapon State Park.

We began our celebrations with a get together at the home of one of our neigbours on Saturday evening. It was a chance to meet some new people and partake of a staple of southern cuisine known as the Lowcountry Boil. This one pot dish originated in the low country of Georgia and South Carolina. As the story goes a national guardsman by the name of Richard Gay had to prepare a meal for one hundred people. He whipped up an old family recipe – basically boiling up potatoes, sausage, corn, crab and shrimp with a bit of seasoning – and it was a huge hit. The best way to serve a lowcountry boil is to tip it out of the pot onto sheets of newspaper – makes for a super easy cleanup!

Out of the pot...
Out of the pot…
and onto the newspaper - kind of like fish and chips?!
and onto the newspaper – kind of like fish and chips?!

It probably will never win prizes for being the most attractive looking meal, but the lowcountry boil sure tasted great. Everything could be dipped into little bowls of melted butter and then rolled in Old Bay seasoning. – yum!

Today we headed to the state park at Cacapon to take advantage of the last day that the beach would be open to the public. There were only one or two groups of people when we arrived mid morning, but by the time we left the beach front was packed. The girls had a great time both in and out of the water and I even managed to get some work done…

though I find it a bit of a stretch to call reading about picture books, publishing for children, the history of art techniques and new ways of creating children's literature, work. Let's just say I'm loving it :)
though I find it a bit of a stretch to call reading about picture books, publishing for children, the history of art techniques and new ways of creating children’s literature, work. Let’s just say I’m loving it πŸ™‚

Olive and Edie laboured hard too…

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We sampled a couple of other traditional American treats…

chilli dogs...
chilli dogs…
and orange dreamsicles!
and orange dreamsicles!

And we attempted to take nice pictures with our children…

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Let’s just say the family portrait needs some work – where’s Jo Frances when you need her! (Watch the slideshow – we’re in there!)

On the way home from the beach we called in at the Shawnee Springs market where the girls were thrilled to see this…

only two months to go!
only two months to go!

And I was utterly gobsmacked to see this…

it's only the second day of September!!
it’s only the second day of September!!

All in all it was a very enjoyable first Labor Day celebration for the Croads. Now we start counting the days to Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then…HOME!

Take care everyone. We miss you all and send lots of love xxx

10 Replies to “Last days of summer…”

    1. Hey Sooze – we arrive in Napier on December 15th then the girls and I will head down to Wellington on the 17th and Richard will go and work in Tauranga. we’re making a very quick trip to Australia on the 20th to see Richard’s Mum then back to Hawkes Bay on the 23rd. We’ll be in Napier until we leave NZ on the 31st of December. Are you planning on being in the Bay for Xmas?

  1. Was the newsprint tasty?. As you say like the good ol days when it was okay to buy fishnchips on newspaper! Yes roll on Christmas till we get to see you! Much love and kisses. Auntie Jenny xxx

  2. Another great read Chrissy. I love how you injected some American style into this..”the sauce sure was tasty” you’re starting to sound like a genuine American! πŸ™‚ Great photos too! xx

  3. PS Forgot to say, would love to hear more about your studies – sounds really interesting (perhaps you could illustrate it with some of the great picture books you’ve discovered so far??)

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