When I was a kid, Saturday mornings for kids were almost as holy as Sunday morning for adults.
We watched cartoons. GREAT cartoons. Bugs Bunny. Road Runner and Wylie Coyote . Elmer Fudd. Tweety and Sylvester and Granny. Mickey Mouse. Donald Duck.
And then later, if the weather was bad, we might be able to watch Dick Clark's American Bandstand and Soul Train.
In between, for Catholic kids of a certain age, there were CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes, which usually began around 9 in the morning - a full two hours after the cartoons had begun. (I think there's another name for them now, but I can't remember the initials . . . RIC. . .C. . .A???? I have no doubt someone reading this will know and fill us in.).
The neat thing was that our Jewish friends were headed to Hebrew School at the same time, so streets and homes in the neighborhood of my youth were Very Quiet for a few hours every Saturday morning.
When we got home, there were chores to do: Help polish the silver or the furniture. Help wax the floors. Help gather and sort the laundry and hang it up to dry.
The emphasis was on 'help'. Our mothers were like patrol leaders who had memorized lists of Things To Do. We would be sent on one chore and, after reporting its completion and passing inspection, we would be sent on yet another chore.
We were like little puppies, sent out to fetch and return. And mostly, we did so without complaint. Well, if we did, we were certain to get the back of our mother's hand to cuff the top of our head.
Mothers also had Eyes In The Back of Their Heads. My mother could see the spot I had missed polishing the claw leg under the dinning room table from her spot in front of the kitchen sink.
I always thought there should be another Great Sorrowful Mystery, but I never had the nerve to request its addition from Father or Sister. How was it, exactly, that Mother could see that I had not fluffed the pillows on the living room couch by looking out the kitchen window?
Oh, woe was me, poor banished child of Eve!
After our chores were done and we had eaten our lunch (Fried baloney and grilled cheese sandwiches which we dunked in tomato soup - YUM!) it was off to ride bikes or play ball or hang out with your friends for the rest of the day.
Saturday nights were Bath Time (remember taking a WEEKLY bath???). It was also reserved for polishing shoes and making sure our white gloves were washed and ready for church in the morning.
Then it was The Lawrence Welk Show followed by The Ed Sullivan Show. Then, off to say our prayers before bed where we slept deep and dreamed of living, one day, in The Land of Big Rock Candy Mountain. Burl Ives sang it so we knew it must exist.
As an adult, Saturdays are now for one syllable words, all under the heading of a one syllable word:
Store. Shop. Buy.
This is not a complaint. There's actually something wonderful about all of these chores. There are so many places in my ministerial life that I start something and don't finish it, or, quite finish it, or, can't.
It requires enormous patience - not exactly my strongest suit.
So, doing chores, focusing on one-syllable words, has a certain satisfaction to it. I set out to do something, do it, and it gets done.
I can see it in the piles of folded laundry, in the way the furniture shines and the house smells good.
A satisfied smile crosses my face when I look into my freezer and see that it has soup for the coming week and the shelves are lined with pasta, canned vegetables, coffee and tea.
I can face another week of uncertainty - things done but mostly left undone or the effects of which I won't know for quite some time, if ever.
Come to think of it, it may just be that if you follow one-syllable words they may lead you to the path of satisfaction.
Sex (There, I said it.).
Pray (Well, if you let go of getting an answer
on anything but God's time.)
There are probably many more but those are just off the top of my head. Please feel free to add your own.
I think Saturdays are meant for one-syllable words. They are designed for the simple, meaningless tasks of life that help to give the rest of your life meaning. They take you down a peg and humble you to celebrate the things that make you human.
And, in a strange way, they serve to remind you that you are, after all, a 'human being', not a 'human doing'.
Which is why, I suppose, Sundays follow Saturdays.
I just think that my Saturdays could be enhanced by an hour or so of good old fashioned cartoons.
I no longer need Burl Ive's Big Rock Candy Mountain, but you know, a fried baloney and grilled cheese sandwich with a hot mug of tomato soup sure sounds good, doesn't it?