No games using dice, no playing cards, definitely no movies. Our Sundays in my Methodist childhood had strict rules. Sunday was the Lord’s day, and we kids were strictly limited in what we could do with our afternoons once we had spent our morning in Sunday School and church and come home to a big dinner.
Growing up in a family that tried to follow strict Christian principles tended to frustrate us as youngsters. We weren’t allowed to patronize local stores, except for a drug store and then only if it was to get medicine. Claiming photos we had left there to be developed and printed would have to wait until a weekday. Back at school on Monday, our friends shocked us with stories of sneaking out to go to a movie matinee. Scandalous.
Sundays certainly are different now. The roar of lawn mowers or snow blowers, depending on the season, slice through the air from early morning to dusk. Ball games abound. Boats crowd our rivers and lakes. Forget about a leisurely drive anywhere. Sunday afternoons and evenings are the worst times to be out there, trying to get home from wherever we have been spending our weekend.
Those of us who are enriched with a church that we attend regularly know that Sundays continue to feel special to us, even though many of those rules of our childhood have been relaxed or forgotten.
Those restrictive Sundays of my youth are gone now, and I appreciate my freedoms, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of nostalgia for the peace and quiet of Sunday afternoons and the knowledge that even against my will, I was keeping the day special.
As a 12-year-old I attended a church-sponsored summer camp on the campus of Western Maryland College. I still remember the comment of one of the college students who waited tables in the dining hall. He was studying to be a minister, I recall. “Sundays are special,” he said. “Even the air seems different.”
Today’s word: alright. It’s never all right to spell it that way. Alright is all wrong.