Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sweet, sweet Sunday

A real two-day weekend is such a luxury. I get only one or two a month, so it's a huge treat. When Sunday is all you have, it's devoted to bill paying, errand running, paperwork, cleaning, laundry, and so on. But if there's going to be a Saturday as well, then man oh man, it's like Christmas.

The trick is balancing everything: the obligatory chores, of course, plus staying up late, sleeping in, the movie you've been dying to see, the next chapters in that book you started two weeks ago, the new recipe that takes hours to do, blogging ... the list always exceeds the extra hours. But what a joy it is to have all that time. It's sad that we've become so busy.

When I was a kid, the whole family worked hard all day, had supper together, then had the whole evening to read, watch TV, or just hang out. The adults would sit with the kids, helping with homework, if we had any. Board games were big, along with backyard badminton, baseball or croquet; we'd play a block-wide game of hide and seek when it got dark.

On Sunday, there was church and a whole day of puttering around afterward. We'd sit out on the wide front porch in the big wicker swing, or on the springy metal chairs. There would be stories and jokes to tell, beans to snap, peas to shell, corn to shuck over last week's newspapers. Neighbors strolling by would come up the walk and sit a while, sharing news and gossip over a glass of iced tea. The biggest decisions of the day were whether to have pie or cake for desert, and whether to nap on the sofa or in the hammock under the maple tree.

Our generation traded away all of that for lives of striving and aspiration. We have more money now than we did then. I suppose we have more accomplishments to point to. Our toys are more complex, we travel farther afield than our parents ever dreamed of going, and our possibilities are bigger. But I'm not sure, really, that it was such a good deal.

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