Whatever happened to restful Sunday afternoons of years ago? Think about it.
When I was a kid, we used to ride our horses to the neighborhood kids’ homes almost every Sunday afternoon. It never occurred to us that they might not be home or that they had other plans or company or be busy. All the kids rode horseback on Sunday afternoons.
After we went to Sunday school and church and had eaten our Sunday dinner, we kids relaxed and did fun things. If it was real hot in the summer, we might go swimming in some pond, but first we had to get to that pond — so we rode our horses. Somewhere along the road, we met with other kids and we would all go swimming or playing in the creek or pond. No one ever drowned or was careless in the water. There were always big kids (somebody’s big brother or sister who took charge) around to protect the smaller ones and to warn us of safety.
We had so much fun. In fact, no matter what we did, we had a good time. Maybe that is what being a kid is all about, enjoying life without worries or deadlines or concerns.
I mentioned Sunday dinners. Those dinners were meals to be remembered. We usually had a huge roast that had cooked slowly all morning while we attended church services. The house smelled just wonderful when we walked in. That made us all the more hungry for that roast and mashed potatoes (whipped with real cream and homemade butter) and roast gravy, and wonderful home-canned green beans, topped off with pie or cake for dessert.
We gathered around the big dining room table and enjoyed family and conversation. We did that at every meal, however, so Sunday noon was no exception. We each had our designated place to sit that just naturally happened. It wasn’t planned, it just was the way it was. We had lots of company for Sunday dinner and there was always an abundance of food.
In the wintertime, we read or just played on Sunday afternoons, free from any chores or jobs to be done. We did have to do the evening and morning milking and feeding animals, but no special tasks added. We played lots of paper dolls and wrote stuff, played school and played dress-up. My sisters and I never ran out of something fun to do. There were always cookies or candy to make or a new recipe to try. We always wanted it to snow so we could play in it.
Our huge hay barn was so cozy that we could play there year around. We explored for hen’s nests and played hide and seek in the bales of hay in the loft. We would sit on the edge of the barn loft and swing our legs, singing or talking. We never had any problem passing the time of day.
If we didn’t read or do other fun things outside (which was rare), we could always take a Sunday afternoon nap. That is what appeals to me most now. There is simply nothing as refreshing and restoring as a nap on Sunday afternoon. However, since we are retired, a nap feels great any time.
Naps are wonderful! I always feel that a nap gives two-for-one use of our days. When we wake up each morning, we get our day’s work done. Then, we have lunch and go to Jim’s physical exercise and run an errand or two. Then take a short nap (Jim in his chair with our little dog and me on the sofa curled up with a throw). The second time we wake up, that day is like a new, free day to do whatever we want that is fun and of interesting — thus it almost feels like two days for the price of one.
I do believe that God made Sunday a day of rest for a reason. We are supposed to use that time to rest and relax and meditate and rejuvenate.
It is too bad that Sundays are often so full of jobs that we have little time for restful afternoons. Even churches are so overbooked with meetings and plans that one hardly has time to rest in the afternoons.
Remember when all the stores were closed on Sundays? We had to think ahead to have groceries on hand because there was no chance of getting anything on Sunday. Now, Sunday is just another day to the people who work in retail.
In the “olden days” parents and grandparents took time to be with their kids, to relax and rest and bring the family unit together. It was a time of reflection and planning and togetherness. Those were the times that made memories for later. Those were the times that made all the toil and work worthwhile.
Too often, we say our goodbyes immediately after church and hurry to eat out at a restaurant before another church gets out of their services. We rush through our meal so we can get home to watch a ball game or complete our checklist of things to do. We are missing something in the meantime — a restful Sunday afternoon.
Someone much more poetic than I am wrote these lines about leisure:
“Leisure is an affair of mood and atmosphere rather than simply of the clock. It is not a chronological occurrence but a spiritual state. It is unhurried pleasurable living among one’s native enthusiasms. Leisure consists of those pauses in our lives when experience is a fusion of stimulation and repose. Genuine leisure yields at once a feeling of vividness and a sense of peace. It consists of moments so clear and pleasant in themselves that one might wish they were eternal.”
He must be writing about Sunday afternoons!
After a big Sunday lunch, we hardly want any supper — just a snack of some kind. We like pancakes or popcorn or cornbread and milk. On those rare occasions when we need something more, I make Mary Ruth’s Broccoli/Cheese Soup. I have made a lot of soups in my lifetime, but Jim likes this as well as any he has ever eaten.
Mary Ruth’s Broccoli/Cheese Soup
Mix two cans of cream of broccoli soup with one can cheddar cheese soup and thin it with a little milk (as thick or as thin as you like). Heat through. That’s all. Just enjoy.
Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.