Tag Archives: True Stories

The creation of the American weekend was a Godsend

In 1908 (or there about), an East coast Industrialist (you would think his name would be etched in stone and revered in song), came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to close up shop on Saturday and Sunday to allow his Christian and Jewish workers to celebrate their respective religious day of worship.  At the time, the “weekend” as we know it, didn’t exist. This simple, but righteous gesture turned out to be the start of a revolutionary  change in the American workplace. In addition to the goodwill he personally received, this Industrialist discovered that his workers made fewer mistakes in doing their jobs once they returned to work from their two-day sabbatical.  As a result, his business boomed, profits zoomed – and what followed was the beginning of a shift in employee and employer relations that changed the world’s workplace.

That dear people, is how Americans (in the words of the R & B super group, The O’ Jays, began “Living for the Weekend” – not to “party down,” but to have time off with family and community to pray and revitalize one’s body and soul.

A decade or so later, Henry Ford, that master of American manufacturing innovation, adopted that “worker’s weekend” idea but added a twist: he did not reduce the size of his employee’s paycheck to compensate for their time off. As a result, rank and file Ford Motor Company employees not only had more time to rest and relax; they had more money to spend. And just as Ford envisioned, they bought Ford cars – lots of Ford cars along with other goods and services. Other car manufacturers adopted the “Ford Way” and so did America. This new approach to the workplace help lead the way to a more consumer-driven economy. And in the late 1930’s, then President Roosevelt signed into law the 8-hour day, 5-day work week.

That’s how the “weekend” became enshrined into law and into the American Psyche.

Past posts on this blog have, hopefully in a light-hearted way, implored, cajoled, nagged, suggested and requested that folks use their weekend to change the “who, what, where, why, when and how” of their lives to give themselves a maximum of joy and happiness; to build memories for a moment in time and for a time in the future.  This brief history of the founding of the “weekend” is to shed light on why we have those two precious days of “possibilities” beyond their original intent. However, folks still, by and large, use the weekend to worship in the faith they choose (or none at all) as guaranteed by our Constitution.  But as Henry Ford foresaw, weekends have morphed into enjoying the fruits of our labor from a cornucopia of experiences.  I will continue (every now and again) to urge you to feast upon that endless array of life. To that end, I have attached my latest appeal for you to discard your “ordinary” for the unusual; from the “been there, done that” to the new and exhilarating; to the mind-boggling, sensational and hair-raising “different” – but in a good way, mind you.

Consider the words of Wayne Dyer, American Author and Motivational Speaker, “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live each day as if it were your last.”

We all know that that “last day” is pre-ordained. When the time comes, will you have a weekend memory that was an absolute blast? One that will again rock your heart and soul as you smile your last. Or will your final fleeting thoughts be of a weekend that was like all the rest – a nice memory, but nothing earth-shaking; just time gone by and faint visions of living one’s life safely, gracefully, tastefully. Don’t get me wrong, that will be enough to please one’s soul as a way to appraise the travels on the roads, paths, and trails you have taken through life. But, and I truly believe this – many of us will mourn our past of lost chances that flowered and flowed in and around our lives beckoning us to burst for joy; cry from a deep well of happiness from have the pleasure of perhaps loving long, or loving short – but loving well. To think back and laugh, laugh, laugh at a silliness that made your heart  smile,  maybe produced a hug, and you were smothered in kisses that unexpected day you tasted the “incredible.”

I have no idea what experience would be off-the-charts, superbly different, and exquisitely splendid, that might leave you convulsing with excitement. But I know there is something in your future that will do just that; if you let it happened, if you seek it. Perhaps you have already had a “memory moment,” great – on to the next “future joy!” In the meantime, to kick off this springtime weekend of the New Year, here is another oh-so-gentle plea urging you to spend this Saturday and Sunday on a quest for a mega-memory that will inspire you, conspire within you a desire to begin living for your weekends.

 

WEEKENDS, WEAK ENDS, AND WEEKS ON END WITH THE SAME END.

Here I am again. That crazy fool in www-land, nagging and ragging about expanding your weekend life; trying to get you on a different curve – but most likely getting on your last nerve. So this one is short and sweet; concise and neat: open your dreaming heart to search for a different view of things you can do. I don’t want you to have weak end to your weekend. I want you to transcend and let something new create a trend. Imagine taking a ride on a tide of an adorable vibe that gets you a look at a beautiful side of a sigh.

I believe in the new for you; not the usual things you do. How many times has the usual made Sunday night blue? Ending with another unfulfilled weekend with you wondering where the time flew? Why your heart and found nothing new and exciting to do?

Which every now and then, I nudge you to change your weekend habits; dag-nab-it!  Make those 48-hours open up their pleasures and treasures; you can create a weekend of happiness beyond measure. So when you get that smile from across the aisle that says, “Hello. I’d like to give you my heart today,” don’t freeze – buckle at the knees” – go with the flow and let life that day give you wonderful weekend glow.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”  So says Karen Kaiser Clark, International Speaker, & Authority on coping with loss and growth through pain.

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Roads, Paths, & Trails – “Weekends, Wisdoms and Wonders.” All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: here is a link to that rousing mega-hit song “Living for the Weekend” by the R&B group – The O ‘Jays. Take a listen if you’re so inclined: https://youtu.be/ynJO_XQ2Fs

UNSOLICITED COMMENT: the Hilton Hotel company is currently promoting “Weekender” deals at all their properties. Seems I am not the only one trying to get you to make a weekend of it.

 

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A “Spring Forward” Interlude

To those of you who have visited my blog and graciously commented favorably about some of my posts, know that I am very appreciative.  Likewise for those who took a look and kept going. no offense is taken.  Perhaps, however, on a day when you’re bored beyond belief, you might give me a second look. There might be something new that speaks to you.

The first day of Spring is a special time for me. Which is why I am posting this piece today.  I want to speak about future blogs I will be sharing in the days, weeks and  months ahead.  In “Can I get a little help here?” and “The Lunch Counter and the Music Man,”  I used fictitious names when noting a specific person important to the story because they are still alive. Or, it is in the realm of possiblities that they are.  In the case of “The Lunch Counter……et al,”  I want you to know that I love fish.  But I don’t relish the thought of permanently swimming with them. Chicago is known for its river (that famously flows backward and turns green once a year).  And Lake Michigan is huge. And deep. Capiche?

The point being is that stories based on facts, personal encounters, and some historical situations will be a part of a great many of my postings.  As the saying goes, “the names have changed to protect the innocent.”  In some cases the guilty.  Plus, I don’t want to lose my shirt. This will especially be the case for some “Mad Men” stories I really want to share. Life’s Roads, Paths and Trails (a shameless plug) allowed me to cross paths (yikes) with some folk considered “high and mighty” as well as those toiling in “ordinary pain” – thank you Stevie Wonder.

In the next week or so, a piece entitled “Under two Rainbows”  (then again I’ve been toying with a second title: “The Sunny Side of the Street”) will await your scrutiny. You will get a ‘personal” back story regarding a location making headlines that has been roiling the nation – even resonating  in many parts of the world.  The sequel to that blog with be titled, “Nine before the Storm.”  At this point, all I can say is,  “pen don’t fail me now!”

It’s the first day of Spring everyone.  A time for cleansing, renewal, shedding of the old and cold, and making the most of upcoming possibilities.  Roads, Paths, and Trails await you.

The Lunch Counter and the Music Man

It was definitely a family affair.  Three aunts and their nephew.  Two cooks, a baker and me – the busboy.  That kitchen ran like a well-oiled machine.  My aunts could “throw down!” (They could cook – they could REALLY cook.)  Take it from me, though, you never want to work on the job with your mother’s sisters.  It wasn’t pretty.  But hey, sometime you gotta do what you gotta do.

Then there was the boss!  A stern lady – wide of girth – lacking any sense of mirth or merriment. That summer, she was the bane of my existence.  The tour-de-force of my misery.  The crankiest crank in a rusty wheel that no amount of “3-in-1” oil used would loosen it to turn. That lady worked me like a dog!

But before the summer was over, she would integrated the lunch counter at this Woolworth’s Department store located in an all-White suburban community 35-miles west of Chicago. Go figure. This was the same woman whose policy (and the store’s) was that the, “three aunts and their nephew” could not eat at the very lunch counter where the food they prepared was served to the store’s White customers. On dishes I washed squeaky clean.

One Saturday, some clerk in the record department started playing a new song named “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis.  It blared out over the store’s speaker system and the world changed. The record sold out within hours.  The next day the same thing happened. And the next week. And the next. White folk couldn’t get enough of that song. Once, a customer complained and the store manager stopped the music from playing over the store speakers. You would have thought someone hit him with a 2-by-4.  That’s right!  Johnny Mathis was back crooning on the air no time flat.

Then the earth at Woolworth’s cracked wide open.

Joey Donatucci (not his real name), one of the kids that served customers did the unthinkable: he wanted to talk to me about some trouble I had with some of his friends.  At the lunch counter. Out there where White folk could see us. See me. I knew he had lost his mind. Just knew it.  But it turned out, “Mrs. Grouch-of-the-Year” winner, had lost her mind. Later, I figured she must have been the one who hit the manager with the 2-by-4 because he had to agree to my sitting at the lunch counter. Joey Donatucci you see, was the son of SOMEBODY (If you catch my drift. We’re talking Chicago here.)

After that, from then on, the three aunts and their nephew didn’t have to eat lunch or take thier break sitting on crates and sacks of potatoes in the kitchen. Or on the loading dock out back. The boss lady still remained a tough old bird. Merciless with a dollar. Sparingly with her praise. She confided to the three aunts and their nephew in the kitchen soon after the “Donatucci Affair,” how she had bought a copy of Johnny Mathis’ record.

Said she never thought she would enjoy any music sung by a Black man.

Black man, I thought.  Johnny Mathis is Black?