It is day fourteen of the quarantine. For me, this time feels like a long Sunday from a long time ago when stores were closed and the only outing was the 11:30 a.m. Mass. I was a child back then and saw the world from just below five feet tall.
We read the Sunday funnies when it was an entire section of a thick, bursting newspaper. Every funny was read out loud from Family Circus to Beetle Bailey. Church outfits required patent leather shoes with lace socks. My mom made things like crocheted vests, upholstered chairs, and matching sundresses for each of her girls. Early dinners seemed as special as Thanksgiving and before The Wonderful World of Disney popcorn was popped in a pot, not a microwave.
Afternoon Hangman, Scrabble, Sorry, Monopoly, and Chinese Checkers tournaments took place on the kitchen table along with stories, each child jostling to have a turn sharing what happened at the high school debate, the bus stop squabble with the neighbor’s kid, and the agony and defeat of the annual spelling bee.
A lot of practicing happened on long Sundays. Guitar, flute, baton twirling, jazz dance, piano, Girl Scout badge earning and speed reading Cliff Notes for that classic we never read. Screen time was Pong, the sticks volleying the little dot that jumped across the digital tennis net or maybe watching a repeat episode of Bonanza or Wild, Wild West.
Sunday was a day of family, not errands or catching up on work assignments before Monday morning. Sunday was playing outside, ice skating in the backyard rink my dad tended to with a garden hose, our personal human Zamboni. We visited grandparents, played hide and seek, giggled, created soap operas with our Barbies and Fisher-Price toy people and we sometimes called a friend, using the rotary phone in the kitchen for a five-minute hello to make plans for a sleepover the following Friday.
We listened to vinyl records on my parent’s 1960s stereo and sang along to the lyrics printed on the record sleeve. We made up dance routines to Abba, Meatloaf, Shaun Cassidy, and Michael Jackson.
Sometimes we would go on drives, passing pastures, farmhouses and many, many cows. We’d stop for antiques, maple syrup or a flat tire and my mother always came prepared with a pitcher of Hawaiian Punch and some sandwiches.
Sundays could be boring. Nothing on the three channels but TV snow and no antenna could fix that.
When the pandemic subsides and we return to our busy days of multi-tasking, uncomfortable shoes and long commutes, I hope we remember to enjoy a long Sunday. No plan, no purpose, but a day, where the hours slip into one another, where we stretch, sing, read, play, sleep, dream, be.