FLASHBACK FRIDAY: SATURDAYS
Well, the children have returned to school and autumn is just around the corner with its cooler mornings and nights. The deciduous trees—those which shed their leaves per anum—have already begun to herald its cool coming; coloring their leaves into brown, yellow, and crimson banners of welcome. The shadows have started to lengthen and lean like drunken parodies of their sober, summer-time selves. None of these changes are bad though, in fact, the cooler air is welcome after the blistering heat of summer.
The passage of time has irrevocably changed Saturdays, but when I was a boy, Saturdays were special; not simply because they were days off from school but because, special things happened on Saturdays that didn’t happen on any other day of the week. The best of my youthful Saturdays would actually begin on Friday night. On those Friday nights, my brother, sister, and I would walk next door to Gramp’s house and knock on her door with our pajamas hidden underneath our shirts. Gramp knew that the “hidden” pajamas were a signal that we wished to “spend the night” with her yet, when she came to the door, she’d feign surprise as we sang the query in unison; “Can we spend the night?”
To spend the night at Gramp’s meant that my brother and I got to sleep on the “fold out” sofa bed. That was fun. My sister slept with Gramp. I don’t think she enjoyed the sleeping arrangements as much as we did. Spending the night also meant that we had to go to bed early; we had to “go pee” even if we didn’t have to “go pee”—Gramp’s Rule—, and we had to get up early in the morning. Most times, getting up early was a chore, but at Gramp’s it wasn’t. We’d wake up to the sound of her singing an old “spiritual” song from the kitchen. The song, although beautiful, wasn’t the best thing coming from that kitchen though. The smell of bacon and sausage cooking, and coffee brewing, wafted out of the kitchen, filling the entire house with its mouth-watering aroma. We had no problem getting out of bed on those Saturday mornings! We’d rise before the Crows.
After stuffing ourselves on a fare of grits, eggs, sausage, bacon, and sometimes coffee with so much milk and sugar, that it more closely resembled, in appearance and taste, something you might find at Starbuck’s or some such place, it was cartoon time. Cartoons were a Saturday affair only—except for the Flintstone’s on weekdays, after school. We watched Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck; the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Scooby Doo, and others. There was no 24 hour Cartoon Network, Adult Swim nor Boondocks back then. The cartoons were benign—for the most part—and wholesome—for the most part—but looking back, they could get pretty violent—poor Wile E.!
Going outside meant the familiar smell of Ms. Christine burning leaves and Aint Nina fussing at the children across the street. It meant playing games like; hiding-go-seek, tag, hop-scotch in the dirt with a piece of glass as your marker, climbing trees, jumping out of trees into the hedge row in the back yard, “hanging out” and playing in Taylor’s park, playing basketball on our dirt court until night fell and we were as dusty as a peanut mill worker. After playing all day, we came inside and watched Gunsmoke with James Arness as Matt Dillon, Hee-Haw and the Lawrence Welk show.
And Archie and Edith Bunker would sing in their intro song; “Those were the days”. SATURDAYS!