Sundays have always been special in my life mostly because of my faith and the fact that whether I attend Mass on Saturday night or Sunday morning.....Sunday is saved for God and family. As a kid....everyone acknowledge Sunday as a day of rest and respect whether they attended church or not. Farmers who carried a full work load the other six days a week, dialed back their chores to the very least the farm and the animals could get by with and spent Sundays with their families....except of course during harvest time. On Sundays...streets were always vacant except for church traffic and church parking lots. Stores closed on Sundays and if you happened to be traveling on a Sunday.....you better hope your gas tank was full because even gas stations shut down on the Sabbath.
Sundays were a day (especially during the summer) where charcoal was thick in the air, kids laughter could be heard on just about every block and front porches and backyards were gathering places for family and friends. The midday meal was always a production and just about every table no matter how small, had room for one more. Yeah....Sunday was the one day a week where the outside world shut down and the world of God, family and friends was celebrated. It was designed as a day to rest, recharge and prepare both mentally and physically for the week ahead. Back in the day.....people just knew how to live and when God and family came first......everything else simply fell into place.
When I was growing up....Sunday dinner was usually a roast baked with potatoes and carrots and a table full of side dishes. There was always a cake or pie and homemade bread and it was the day our taste buds longed for every week. Occasionally Mom hung up her apron and Dad either took us all out for a picnic or we grilled, but Sunday was usually Mom's day to shine in the kitchen. I remember going to mass and then coming home to lay around on the living room floor and read the newspaper. My brother and I got the funnies, Mom got the Home and Garden section and Dad always went for the front page. We would spend the morning reading to each other from our respective pages until it was time for lunch/dinner. After the noon meal when everything was cleaned up and put away, sometimes we ended up in the pool or my favorite thing was to find a quiet place and either read or write (imagine that). It was the best way to spend a Sunday and I still remember those times so fondly.
When I was older, I dated a dairy farmer. Monday through Saturday his life and the life of his family was filled with the care and milking of cows. There was also the wheat crop to look after, the house, the outbuildings and the garden. It was day after day of 14 to 16 hour days. Sundays though were different. Sundays on a farm are just special. They are like a much needed reward for the other six days of full on effort. At their house.....Sunday mornings like every other morning, started very early with breakfast and you better bet no one ever just got cold cereal for breakfast. It was always eggs, steak or ham, biscuits (never from a can), gravy, coffee and fresh whole milk. It was then off to Mass and back home to prepare for lunch. If you thought breakfast was a big deal.....you had seen nothing until you had one of their Sunday dinners. My guys mom would always prepare the meat (often fried chicken with the best gravy I had ever had) and then the nine kids who had left home all emerged on the house about noonish with at least one covered dish in hand. The table was often too full to hold it all. The house would be filled to the brim with people from newborn to grandparents, extended family and drop in friends. A Sunday was not a Sunday though unless the afternoon was celebrated with a softball game. Off came the Sunday clothes and on went shorts, t-shirts and ball mitts. It was some of the most fun times I ever remember.
Sundays.....not unlike holidays, used to hold a bit of tradition in most homes. A special meal, family, friends, games and a mini vacation from the other six days of the week. Today though, we work seven days a week. People shop on Sundays, work on Sundays and in a lot of cases.....treat Sunday like any other day. I would like to blame it on the secular world but us religious folk do this stuff too. We use Sunday as the day to play catch up for all the stuff we couldn't cram into our ultra busy lives Monday through Saturday. If we aren't doing that, then we are shopping at the mall, getting our nails done or running our kids around causing others to have to work at our expense.....all for the ultimate goal of the almighty dollar and the desire to do it all and have it all. It makes me kind of sad.
While I have been known to hit up Lowe's and Walmart on a Sunday, grocery shop and even do a little laundry and cleaning too, it never really feels right. I do try to keep it as a family day....a relaxing day and a day to remember that even as busy as God was.....you know.....creating the world and all.....even He took Sunday off to rest and He asks us to do the same. Most Sundays, I think my kids look forward to a day filled with Mass, a great meal and a great time with just us together...and I think that is a really good thing.
So as I sit here blogging, watching the curtains breath in an out from the breeze and reminiscing to myself about the past, I can't help but smile. The family is here, lunch will be in full production soon and I am at peace. The outside world doesn't exist in the here and now and the day.....as I said before.....holds so many possibilities. Today is Sunday. It is one of the good days....and I think if I had one wish right now.....it would be that as a parent I was able to pass Sundays on to my kids!