I knew the kielbasa dinner would have Gary and his family monopolizing the in-laws' bathroom, so I planted myself in the lesser-used master bathroom.
"Hi, Jesus" I said to the shiny rosary hanging on the wall opposite me at eye level. He just stared back. I went about my business and avoided further eye contact with the Savior. I stared instead at the calendar behind Him.
My mother-in-law always annotates calendars, so it's fun to see what she's up to. This month includes a friend's birthday, the day the nephew returns from Emen-Yay, the day the dog goes to the vet.
This calendar didn't appear to be a Catholic calendar. No feast days were pointed out. Instead, there were days highlighted with crossed American flags. The first I noticed was right next to Jesus, Sept 18, National POW/MIA Recognition Day. "Pray for our troops" it said. I realized POW/MIAs need their own day: Memorial Day is for the dead and Veterans Day is for the living.
Then I noticed Sept 7th had the same flags. "Labor Day. Pray for our troops."
Now, I've always thought of Labor Day as a reaction to the Haymarket riots, or the Triangle fire. A slightly socialist day. I thought, "Shouldn't that be 'Pray for our unions? Pray for our coal miners? Pray for auto workers in the paint shop?" (One summer I taught at the auto plant someone died from the heat in the paint shop.)
I asked the mother-in-law about it, and she'd wondered too. I was thinking she'd say all holidays have a crossed flag and "Pray for our troops." Halloween. Earth Day. Juneteenth. I would have looked myself but I'd have to move the rosary and I figured that would burn.