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Holiday greetings

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

My Grandpa Munsch was an operator at the Monsanto petrochemical plant in
Texas City, Texas in April, 1947. A French tanker with ammonium nitrate
for cargo caught fire in the harbor and blew up, which set off a chain
reaction of explosions. He was in a small building when it happened, and
when he came to he was under water with bricks piled all around.
Thankfully he had the sense and ability to stand up, even though he was
injured. The coins in his pants pocket were melted and corroded
together. My Dad showed them to me one time, and told me that his friend
and co-worker "Shorty", who is in the last stages of Alzheimer's disease
and helped clean up after the blast, will not eat crab meat to this day
(those of you who have spent time on the coast will understand why).
They know around six hundred people died in the big '47 blast, but an
exact body count is impossible to come by.

My Dad worked there at the same plant for about 33 years. He paid for
our piano lessons, band instruments, road trips, and many of our college
expenses. His hearing isn't too great as a result of being around
machinery for so many years, but we still have a great time listening to
music together, especially the Beethoven symphonies. He is a member of
the AFL-CIO in a right-to-work state (or at least he was before he
retired). I remember the bus that used to come out to what was the rural
area where we lived to bring guys like him to work. We had a Dodge Dart
back then, so he didn't take the bus very often.

I'm proud of my Pioneer/Blue-Collar background. I have just as much
right to feel this way as a Mayflower family member or anybody else. And
so do the rest of you. One size doesn't fit all because we are all
individuals, each different from the other. Nobody has a right to try to
shove us or our kids into some kind of test-o-matic box or try to make
us believe that the CEO is more a valuable Human Being than the person
who works with his or her hands.

Happy Labor Day,


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