Growing up, Sundays were always a day of worship and a day of rest. Sunday school and church services were mandatory. There were Bible verses to be memorized during the week and then recited in class and sermons to be listened to afterward. The preachers then didn't give a hoot about your "feeeelings." They weren't even close to being politically correct. They preached Hellfire and Brimstone. They didn't worry about offending anyone. If you didn't repent and give up your wicked ways, you were going directly to Hell. There were no gray areas. I think I liked that. At least you left the church service knowing exactly where you stood.
Arriving home from church, we were greeted by wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen. Before church, Mother would put a pot roast or a chicken or a pork roast in a pan, surround it with potatoes, carrots and onions and let it slow bake in the oven while we were gone. I noticed that if the preacher was particularly long-winded and his sermon went past the noon hour, Mother would get fidgety, worried that her Sunday dinner would dry out in the oven before she got home. I don't ever remember that happening. Sunday dinners were always the highlight of the week as far as meals went.
Sunday afternoons were a time for family. We didn't always do things together, but we were still together as a family. On rainy Sundays I could be found in my bedroom, reading Bobsey Twins books or the latest Nancy Drew mystery. Or sometimes I would just sit listening to the radio and knitting or crocheting. Or maybe embroidering a pretty picture on one of those flour sack dishtowels. My little sister was more interested in dolls so she would be in the playhouse my Dad built for her, having a tea party with the neighbor girls. Or we might spend the afternoon putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There was always a card table set up with a half finished puzzle on it.
I never understood Mother's reasoning, but she believed that regular playing cards were evil. So in the evenings we might play some Mother approved card games like Rook or Uno or Old Maid. Sometimes Dad would get out one of the board games and we would play Scrabble or Yahtzee or Sorry or Clue (The professor in the library with a candlestick.) :)
Sunny summer Sunday afternoons were a good time to go for a ride. We didn't usually have a destination in mind. We might stop at one of the one room schoolhouses in the area and play on the swings and teeter-totters. Or we might go for a swim at the lake. Sometimes Dad would just drive a meandering path until we came to one of the small towns in the area where he would find a place that sold ice cream cones.
Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon we would have company come. Could be friends from town or my aunt and uncle and cousins. Dad might set up the badminton net for the kids or maybe get out the croquet set. Most often he would fill the ice cream maker with the ingredients and ice, and set the kids out on the back steps to work the crank until we had real, homemade ice cream. The best was when he added sliced peaches or strawberries to the mixture. We would enjoy the ice cream with a pitcher of ice cold lemonade and either gingersnaps or sugar cookies out on the front porch.
Now you might say that I grew up in a Mayberry kind of world, and you might be close to right. It was a time, 60 years ago, when we enjoyed the more simple things in life. It wasn't perfect by any means, but we were raised by parents who taught us right from wrong and who took the time to be with us, whether it was going for a Sunday ride or to church or playing a game of Scrabble. I look at my grands and see that even though their world is much different than mine was, they are still being raised with some of the Mayberry values. Gives me hope for their futures.
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