Monday, September 21, 2015
In Praise of the Weekend
For the first time in six months I had a weekend off. Saturday. Sunday. All day, both days. I know, I know: a day off is a day off and it really doesn't matter which days you call your own. There is, however, something about weekends.
I'll admit I was raised in an old school family with a mother who stayed home and a father who worked Monday through Friday. I don't apologize for that. In fact, I'm thankful for that. When I was a child it was commonplace. Now that I'm an adult I realize it was a gift and a rare one at that.
Weekends were sacred. My sister and I were up with the sun, tiptoeing out to the den to watch cartoons. If it was summer, we'd wait impatiently in our bathing suits for Mom or Dad to wake up so we could FINALLY go swimming. Outside or in, we'd play until Dad announced breakfast was ready. Not that we needed that announcement. The smell of sizzling bacon called us from the furthest reaches of the back yard. On school days we ate cereal or toast. On Saturdays we had a feast!
We LIVED outside! Dad and Mom would garden and do yard work while we played house in the small blue cottage beneath the far back pines. We slew demons while Dad sliced weeds and took tea with dragons while Mom plucked lemon balm from the burgeoning herb garden. Lunch was lazy: sandwiches munched on the porch or at the breakfast table amid ongoing projects that usually consisted of fabric scraps, dried herbs or beeswax.
Those crafts and more occupied our time when the crisp autumn winds blew in or the winter kept us by the hearth. For dinner we cooked out or fired up the cast iron griddle inside. There were hotdogs and mac-n-cheese while the Braves played baseball on the tiny TV. There was meatloaf and biscuits, gravy and chicken at the dinner table. Bills and paperwork, craft projects and math books cleaned off, shifted to another counter so we could gather together and say Grace.
Sunday was church day, grandparent's day, lazy day. The smell of coffee warned it was time to get up, eat eggs and grits and put on dresses and polished, patent shoes. There were ruffles on our socks and embroidery on our sweaters. Sunday school smelled like clean carpets, wood shelves, and dust complemented by butter cookies and punch. The sanctuary was Gothic, complete with the requisite pipe organ and stained glass. I still remember watching the light shift through the hour-long service, spilling rainbows over the backs of the heads of little old ladies in front of us. Robes and choirs and Gloria Patri, thank you all for coming, God bless you, Amen.
Mawmaw had roast and potatoes and green beans. Nanny had cakes of half inch layers, crunchy icing between each and everyone. We explored gardens and pecan trees and cried when we had to leave, unless, of course, it was summer and we knew the pool waited.
Sunset brought lightening bugs or cold winds. We'd take baths and eat ice cream and watch movies or Halloween specials. Christmas movies and Murder, She Wrote colored our dreams depending on what time of year it was. Of course we hated that Monday meant school but it also meant five more days until Saturday morning. Five more days before the next, blissful weekend.