Now, before you get all twisted up, I'm not preaching. But I have to say this so you understand how and why I got to that. Nor am I judging anyone for anything. You can do what you want. It's not about you anyway.. unless any of this sounds familiar.
I would like to observe the Sabbath as a day of rest. God seems to think it's pretty important, right up there with not killing and stealing. For me, It's not about legalism but, rather, something I desire to do. Besides, if it has the word "rest" connected with it, I'm all for it! In all seriousness, even if you take the religious aspect out of it, how can taking one day a week and unwinding not help you mentally and physically? Maybe even raising your performance the rest of the week?
That's not to say it's easy. It seems like the more I think about it, the more stuff comes up to do every Sunday. We live very busy lives. Some people have taken the stance that the Sabbath doesn't even have to be a Sunday, as long as you set a day apart to rest and spend time with or seeking God. <sigh> It was certainly easier when almost everything was closed on a Sunday so there was nowhere to go, the Internet didn't bring the entire world to us 24/7 and we weren't trying to keep up with the machines. VERY busy lives.
My daughter, who loves playing video games, is currently staying with me again temporarily. I like playing video games but I rarely play these days because there's so much other stuff on my plate. I had the idea (although I'm telling you before I've even mentioned it to her), what if we get together after church on Sunday and just play video games. That's hardly a day of fasting and prayer but it would be a day of shifting gears and turning my back on all those little voices that are constantly telling me I have to "get this done" and "get that done". It would be the first step in my twelve step Sabbath Observation Program. (No, I haven't come up with the other eleven steps yet.) And it would be "family" time. Plenty of people have no problem with getting off their treadmill and spending time with their families. I'm not one of those people. Not that I've completely ignored them throughout the years.. well, sometimes.. but it's always been hard for me to take my nose off one grindstone or another. "Family time" has always been at a premium.
I remember Sunday afternoon meals. My mother, before multiple sclerosis, would cook a big meal every Sunday. Meals like pot roast and potatoes and (yeck) vegetables. I was probably about six or seven.. the same age as my grandson. I remember sitting at the table in the kitchen.. people used to eat together at the kitchen table.. waiting for the last little something to finish cooking before my mother would start moving it all to the table and the meal officially began.
My mother was always a little on the "modern/hip" side of things and, as I waited for food, we also awaited the Sunday movie. The TV would sit on the end of the table like an honored guest. As I look through the apartment as it is in my memories, I don't see any other TVs. Just the one. It couldn't have been much more than a foot and a half wide.. with a carrying handle and rabbit ears on top. Did we move it from the other room just for the movie? Very possibly. I would bet real money that it was a black and white set. I'm pretty sure the movie of the week was likely black and white anyway. I remember Tarzan movies. And pirate movies. A lot of comedies. Abbott and Costello. And we watched a lot of musicals. Westerns were a little too violent for a six year old so those were the weeks we'd simply turn it off.
The obvious question is, "So, you just sat there in silence, eating and glaring at a TV?". Honestly, I don't remember conversations. But, conversation isn't exactly what a six year old remembers.. except maybe the traumatic ones. Back then, we had to watch commercials.. or talk through them.. or take advantage of the bathroom.. or what have you. I'm sure we had to ask for food to be passed to us. Reaching was.. and is.. rude. But I don't remember anyone ever asking for the squash and yet we still got squash, so I don't think we just sat there in silence. What I do remember is the smell of roast in the oven in the kitchen. I remember that old TV and the Sunday Movie Of The Week. And I remember that we were together. To this day, it makes me warm inside.
Sometimes, we would go to my Grandparent's place on the weekends. My Grandmother was never a little old lady. She was warm and funny and active. I have a photo of her from the mid-20s and it's the same woman I knew except mine had greyer hair. Time may have pursued her and, ultimately, caught up with her but she never aged. I hope I got that from her. She was wonderful. I still wake up in the morning and come out to the smell of coffee and it takes me directly to my Grandmother's house. Her and my mother would be sitting at the table drinking coffee (from the percolator) and occasionally laughing hysterically. My arrival often caused them to start talking in pig-latin. To my shame, I didn't figure it out for a long time. I can still see my Grandmother wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. Man, I miss both of those women so very much. Perhaps part of what I miss is being there. And NO ONE makes spaghetti sauce like my Grandmother did. Store bought? No sir! She would cook that stuff for days and just let it simmer. I remember she'd simmer a potato in it because it soaked up the acid from the tomatoes. It had a taste I've only tasted close to. And I have no way to describe it so I may never taste it again. All I have is my memory.
It's so funny.. the things you remember. My step-father had an album (yeah, vinyl) of John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech tucked away in his collection of Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mario Lanza albums. I remember some of my "friends" being over one time and I, trying to be cool and earn points, pointed out the John F-bomb Kennedy album. What I remember most is the terror that came over me when they all, without exception, acted aghast and said they were going to tell my mother. My world was coming to an end! For almost all of my life to that point, it was me and my Mom. I was a momma's boy because, for a long time, I had no one else. And when she was disappointed, it was crushing. I don't know if they ever told her or not. But I learned a lesson about how quickly the savages can turn on you.
I remember that I wasn't supposed to touch my step-father's huge, pristine collection of National Geographic magazines. Now I wonder if it was complete back to Issue 1. I wouldn't let me touch it either. Although, I wouldn't leave it out where I could. I remember the beautiful pictures, most of which I didn't understand beyond the fact that they were colorful pictures of things and people I'd never seen before. And I clearly remember the plastic record insert of the audio from the moon landing. I always dreamed of space, literally as far back as I can remember, and this little magazine insert.. that was a RECORD.. in a magazine.. with audio (which was cool in itself).. of the MOON LANDING.. was like the Holy Grail. Almost 50 years later I can still see it turning around on the turntable.
I could go back a little further and talk about Williamsville, NY circa 1968. We lived upstairs in a big grey house where I tore my foot on a nail sticking out of the steps going up to our apartment. I think it was on Main St. The front yard was higher than the sidewalk and you could sit on top of the wall with your feet hanging over. I'm guessing my mother could not because I doubt it was that high up. I remember that we would sit there and just.. sit there. I don't know if there were people or cars to watch. But I remember her being there with me. It's so funny the things you remember.
I yanked myself out of my own cozy and dusty memories and thought about my grandson, currently about that age. I wondered what his memories will be when he's my age. If repetition has anything to do with retention, he'll remember opening the garage door when he heard Grandpa's motorcycle. I wonder if that memory will put him on a motorcycle someday. Hopefully, he'll remember me as someone who never acted his age. I hope that memory keeps him young at heart. Will he get all warm and fuzzy when he smells coffee in the morning? Will he remember traditions that ground him later in life? Maybe Sunday video game time?