Any Given Sunday

The other day I saw a sign in the window of a Yonge Street store that read: “Sunday is the new Saturday.” I stopped in my tracks, reread the words several times, and have been pondering them ever since.

On one level, the meaning is clear. On Sunday all shops are now open, leisure choices are endless, and there’s no difference between the two days of the weekend any more. When I was growing up, Sunday was special. I was taken to church wearing a blazer and flannel pants that felt funny against my finger nails clipped on Saturday night after the bath. The minister was a fire-and-brimstone Presbyterian. I tried to avoid nightmares about eternal damnation by carefully counting the sixty-eight tall pipes on the organ during his sulphurous sermons. On those Sundays when communion was celebrated, the elders wore morning coats and striped pants. On Mother’s Day, boys whose mothers were dead wore a white rose in their lapel.

Some Sundays we’d visit my grandparents who lived an hour away. No card games were allowed. The television only came on in time for Ed Sullivan at 8 p.m. My grandfather, who’d suffered a heart attack and wasn’t supposed to watch TV for fear that it would rile him, would stand in the hall and peek around the corner at the screen. Because his body was not in the same room as the TV he believed he was following doctor’s orders and wasn’t doing himself any harm.

My father worked Saturday morning; Sunday was his full day off. He’d sit in the back yard in a lawn chair and read. My mother had a break, too. I was in charge of Sunday lunch. It was always the same – bacon and eggs done in the Sunbeam electric frypan. My mother made dinner but it was just a few sandwiches that took little time.

I miss those simpler days. I wouldn’t want to take the world back to that era, there’d be too much bellyaching, but having a day that was different than Saturday was a fine idea. There was time for family get-togethers. Now we’ve had to designate a special day in February to achieve once a year what used to occur once a week.

Sunday is the new Saturday is a phrase that has the patina of truth, like the fashionistas who say green is the new black. Or boomers who say 60 is the new 50. Or tweets that have neither metre nor meaning. Saying Sunday is the new Saturday is just another way of avoiding what we don’t want to face. Mind-numbing NFL games and the whispering PGA tour commentators prevent us from the real journey of life – discovering our inner selves. The seventh day; what a waste.

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