The Man Who Stole Summer

… And The Wolf Files’ Plan for Getting It Back!

By Buck Wolf

Sept. 3, 2000 — If you feel cheated out of summer fun again this Labor Day, don’t blame yourself. Blame Grover Cleveland.

In 1894, the president proclaimed the first Monday in September to be a tribute to the American worker. And it has since become summer’s last hurrah, the final barbecue before the kids suffer back-to-school jitters, work rips into high gear, and political campaign commercials give us all migraines.

But if you think summer ends too soon, that’s not just a wistful feeling. That’s a fact.

Consult any calendar. The Northern Hemisphere’s autumnal equinox, better known as “the first day of autumn,” does not officially begin until Sept. 22.

Clearly, if President Cleveland wanted to be a true hero of the American worker, he would not have cut the summer short with that three-day buzzkill known as Labor Day weekend. In fact, if he had only pushed back the holiday to, say, Oct. 1, he would stand shoulder-to-shoulder in history books with Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington.

How is Grover Cleveland remembered? Was he the inspiration for that lovable, royal-blue Muppet?

Many people with just a casual acquaintance with history remember the campaign scandal over Cleveland’s illegitimate son and the Republican jeer it gave rise to, “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.”

Cleveland’s daughter — not the fearsome New York Yankee slugger — was the namesake of the Baby Ruth candy bar. But this is hardly the making of greatness.

Indeed, Cleveland had a shot at immortality and blew it. Let’s not beat him too hard. He did give us all a day off. Let’s give him one, too. But, my fellow Americans, let’s not give up.

New Labor Day: Sept. 22

Ultimately, political power rests in voters’ hands. It’s time WE THE PEOPLE stop getting cheated out of the end of summer. We can move Labor Day. It’s our country, our calendar.