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A Labor Day Toast

To babysitting the girl with gum in her hair that I got out with mayonnaise or peanut butter, something I found in the pantry.
To the smelly retail bath products store, my first taxed minimum wage job I worked the first Christmas break of college.
To substitute teaching, and being too liberal for it. Too liberated for it.
To the mega church in a big city, where I painted the walls of the office bright orange. To the children there who sang with me and raised their hands. To realizing I hadn’t paid taxes all summer then paying them the next year.
To being a summer camp counselor, all those French braids and friendship bracelets and forgetting about taxes again.
To the golf resorts who told me I was worth more money and bought my lunches and paid me for a holiday.
To the pest terminator business where I learned that integrity costs something.
To the department store and all those kind people who gave and gave to a company that neither appreciated them nor invested in them.
To the law firm where I made thousands and thousands of copies until I found myself in human resources and marketing and in my own office on the 12th floor in the middle of downtown.
To the School of the Arts for being closer to home and paying more and appreciating my creativity.
To the small town coffee shop.
To the caring outdoors store.
To the four part-time jobs I worked for 10 weeks while secretly pregnant with twins–for not firing me when I was sick every single day.
And to the university Provost, Dean, and Chair, who hired me for my American dream job.
Thank you. 

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