We’re not so young that we can’t remember the Labor Days of the past when Dad would go out into the woods and look for that perfect Labor tree. Once he found one “just right,” he’d chop it down and bring it home, where Mom would decorate it with tour dates for groups like Men At Work and Sister Sledge.

We can still recall how we’d gather around the tree, singing labor songs about goons and scabs while waiting for Mom to put the summer’s highest grossing tour on top. Just think of it. Even today, in households that still respect tradition, children all over the country are anxiously waiting to see which tour will get the top spot. Will it be Britney Spears? Will that Faith Hill / Tim McGraw co-headline end up numero uno? “Patience, my children,” mothers will say on Labor Day Eve. “The sooner you go to bed, the sooner you’ll get a visit from the Union Man.”

Ahhh, to be young again! Of course, we know now that Union Man was just Dad wearing a Budweiser cap, dressed in red long-johns and toting a large sack filled with the best fall tour dates like BBMak, Tom Tom Club and Supersuckers. But back when we were kids we actually believed in Union Man, and that he slid down the chimney under the cover of night and left the dates for The Doobie Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd under the Labor tree. And that he magically did that in every home all over the world.

But now in a world with the Internet, MP3s, Napster and lawsuits, some say that the old ways no longer apply. But as long as there are Labor trees to chop down and children to amaze with the latest dates for String Cheese Incident and 311, we’ll keep celebrating the old traditions. We may have grown too wide around the middle to slide down a chimney, but we’ll still don the old red underwear and bring our kids blink-182, The Alarm 2000, and if they’ve been really good, Phil Lesh & Friends.

And as the sun sets on another Labor Day, we’ll repeat one last tradition. For the memory of Dad, drunk from the day’s picnics, staggering up on the roof, is still etched in our minds. Yes, this Monday night you just might here us shouting from the roof tops, “Merry Labor Day to all, and to all a good strike!”