Posted tagged ‘Sunday roast’

“People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing’s as eternal as the dishes”

June 28, 2015

Last night the sky opened and the rain fell and kept falling until just a little while ago. I’m thinking we got an inch or more of rain. During the height of storm the wind was fierce, and the trees were blown about as if it were a hurricane. I have a branch down in the front yard, and my umbrella, despite its 100 pound base, tipped over onto the deck rail. One of my giant clay pots either fell or, more likely, was shoved off the rail and it shattered on the steps. I saw two grey spawns chasing each other on the deck, amorously I suspect, and they might be the broken clay pot culprits. I cleaned the mess and now have dirt under my nails.

I like Sundays, and though they are no longer the same quiet Sundays of my childhood, they do seem more subdued than any other day of the week. The kids aren’t playing in the street and even the dogs are quiet. I remember Sunday dinner as my favorite meal of the week, and I remember all of us eating together at the table. That was unusual as my Dad worked long hours and generally came home late, after we’d already eaten. He was a salesman who worked back then for J. P. Manning Co, a huge tobacco wholesaler in Boston which, among other things, sold cigars and cigarette vending machines. Once I went with my Dad to his office in Boston, but I stayed in the car. All I remember is seeing the name J. P. Manning across the top of a window.

Every dinner on Sunday had a roast as the center piece, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable or two: green beans, peas, yellow waxed beans or string beans, all from cans. My mother bought her set of Sunday dishes from the supermarket, a dish a week. She also bought the accompanying dishes including a gravy boat, a vegetable server which held two vegetables and a platter for the cut slices of meat. The dishes were off-white with what looked like wheat on them as a decoration and were made of melmac. Though the dishes lasted forever, they started to fade over time and were relegated to being every day dishes.

When my mother started serving Sunday dinner on real dishes, it was cause for celebration. My mother was acknowledging we were growing up and could now be trusted with breakable dishes.

“Sunday, the day for the language of leisure.”

November 16, 2014

Dreary is the best description for this morning. It is a dark, cloudy, cold day. Dead leaves hang motionless from the branches of the big oak trees in the backyard. Everything is brown.

Yesterday Gracie had another test for her irregular heart beats, but I won’t know the results until Monday. While I was waiting for Gracie, a woman came in with a 10 week old brindle boxer puppy. I told the woman had there been no witnesses, I would have stolen her puppy. It was the cutest dog with soft boxer ears and a mournful look, the sort boxers sometimes get. The woman has another boxer at home, a one year old rescue. I told her about Miss Gracie also being a dark, brindle. We both said we’d never have a different breed as we are such boxer lovers. Gracie came bouncing out of the back area. I patted her and then Gracie went straight to the woman and gave her kisses as only boxers can. The woman told me Gracie was beautiful. That woman has a good eye.

Sunday has always been the quietest day of the week. When I was a kid, I’d go home after mass, change out of my Sunday clothes and mostly hang around the house. I’d read the comics and then settle in with my book. My mother would be making Sunday dinner, and my dad would be watching football. This time of year the house was always closed to keep the cold away. My dad would have climbed the ladder a few weeks back to take off the screens and replace them with the storm windows. It was always a process especially the part of getting the storm windows on the hooks. The closed house held in the best smells on Sundays, especially the aroma of whatever roast was baking in the oven. My favorite will always be roast beef. The smell of one baking still brings me home, to my childhood, to those quiet Sundays.

“Some of the most important conversations I’ve ever had occurred at my family’s dinner table.”

November 13, 2011

Today is seasonably chilly with a cold breeze. The leaves on the oak tree have turned brown, and every time the wind blows, a few fall to the ground. Soon enough the oak tree will be bare.

Fewer birds than usual are at the feeders, and the spawns of Satan also seem to be among the missing. I have only seen the red spawn. I don’t know where his gray cousins are.

I have never had huge expectations for Sundays which dates, I think, from when I was little and, by default, Sunday was family day. The morning always started with church, sometimes with my dad, the usher, sometimes just by ourselves, my brother and me. I remember my dad used to give each of us a dime for the collection basket. When the time came, I’d watch him walk to the front of the church carrying his basket. Once there, he’d kneel then stand and pass the basket down each row. The handle of the basket was so long it reached all the way down to the end of the pews in the center aisle. I was always a bit proud when I could add my dime to the basket. It made me feel older some how. My dad would drive us home, but he always stopped for the paper first. Sometimes he’d stop so we could get a donut. I liked jelly donuts back then. My dad liked plain.

When I got home, I’d change out of my Sunday clothes into my play clothes though most Sundays, other than in the summer, I never went outside to play. I’d lie on the rug in the living room and read the comics. I never found the rest of the paper interesting when I was little. The Sunday movie started at noon, and we’d gather around and watch. The only movie I still remember watching was Lassie Come Home. It made me cry.

My mother was always in the kitchen preparing Sunday dinner. During the week we had lunch in the afternoon and then supper at night, but on Sundays we had dinner. I always thought it was called dinner because it was the best meal of the whole week. We sometimes had a roast beef or a roast pork or chicken, always mashed potatoes and a couple of vegetables, out of cans back then. There was never enough room at the table. The kitchen was small. My mother often stood up by the stove near the table to eat. Even years later, when there was room, she’d still stand at the counter and eat. I thought it was strange until I remembered those Sunday dinners and that small kitchen and the table against the wall.

“The less routine the more life.”

October 1, 2011

This morning it poured, and the rain made such a thunderous racket on the roof and deck it woke me up. The day is now cloudy and damp, and the paper predicts it will stay this way through at least Tuesday. I guess we’re paying the price for the beauty of last week.

I am running late as I had a couple of early morning errands. I have more to do but figured I’d finish Coffee before I go back out and about.

Today, when I turned the calendar to October, I was taken a bit aback to realize how quickly the year is passing. It’s that age thing-the older we get, the shorter each year seems. I remember being young and waiting endlessly for the week to end. I was stuck in school for what seemed like eons as it always felt as if Friday took forever to come. The first of October meant counting the days until Halloween, a whole month of days. We had Columbus day off in the middle to give us a bit of a break, but that didn’t change how long the month stretched in front of us.

There was a routine to every day back then, maybe the first inkling to what lay before us as adults. We got up every weekday, ate breakfast, got dressed, grabbed our schoolbags and walked to school. School started at the ringing of a bell, a hand bell rung outside the school door by one of the nuns. The same classes followed each other every day except once a week when music and art changed the routine. Lunch was eaten at the ringing of the bell and finished at the ringing of the same bell. At the end of the day, we watched the slow movement of the clock’s hands and listened for the bell to send us home. We played a bit, did homework, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

The weekends, though open and free, had a routine of their own. Saturday started with cartoons and cereal in front of the TV and then the rest of the day was ours until bath time. I remember my brother and I took our own baths while my sisters shared one. They always cried when my mother combed the snarls out of their hair after the shampooing. It was as much a part of the routine as the shampooing. We’d stay up a bit later then be sent off to bed. We’d whine about the unfairness of it all as we went up the stairs.

We’d get up, put on our Sunday clothes and then go off to church grumbling the whole way as church as never a favorite of ours. We’d endure the mass, get home and change as quickly as possible then play a bit until dinner. Sunday dinner was always my favorite. It was the special meal of the week when we often had a roast, something my parents could ill afford more than once a week. Sometimes we’d go visit my grandparents while other Sundays we could do whatever we wanted. Besides church, the only other drawback to Sunday was we were forced to go to bed early to be ready for school the next day.

When Monday morning came, so did the routine of being a kid.


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