Sundays at Home
Sunday afternoons seemed special to us kids. After coming home from church and we had eaten lunch, my dad would drive to a small local store and buy a Sunday newspaper, a large bag of Snyder’s potato chips, and a half pound chunk of “gummy” longhorn cheddar cheese. When he came back he would give Mom the cheese and he would settle himself in his swivel recliner. Mom would cut the longhorn cheese into long pieces that resembled French fries. She would bring them into the living room and put them by the sack of chips. Dad would toss the comics to my brother, sister, and me. We would read the “funnies,” lying on the floor, occasionally reaching for a piece of cheese or a handful of chips until they were all eaten. It had become almost a Sunday ritual.
Mom would curl up on the couch to watch a movie. The program was narrated by Rege Cordic. She managed to stay awake until about half way through the program. Soon, we would hear soft snoring emanating from the couch. It happened every Sunday. When she would wake up the movie would be over and she would say the same thing, “Oh shoot! I wanted to see the end of that.” She began to call her naps Rege Cordics.
Dad’s favorite chair was overstuffed fake leather recliner that swiveled on its base. It was parked close to the television set. Before he settled into it he would turn the dial to his favorite channel and there it stayed. It wasn’t bad when he was watching sports, the Pittsburgh Pirates was his first choice other sports came in second. My brother and I had no problem with watching sports, but he loved to “watch” The Lawrence Welk Show. “You have to be kidding. Any channel but that.” we would moan.
Not long into the program, the soothing and unexciting music would begin to lull Dad and he would doze off. When one of us would get bored with his “wonnerful” music, one of us would gather our courage and sidle up to the television. Slowly we would turn the dial. At the first click of the knob Dad would snort awake and yell, “Turn that back! I was watching that!” Dutifully we would turn the dial back to Lawrence Welk and sit there bored to death until the program was over.
One day I got s brilliant idea. If I could prove that he wasn’t watching Lawrence, but was sleeping, maybe we could watch another channel.
As soon as Dad fell asleep, I grasped the bottom of his chair and ever so slowly I turned the seat until he was facing away from the television set. Boldly I approached the television. I reached out for the dial; looking back over my shoulder to be sure Dad was still asleep. I began to twist the knob. Click. Click. Click.
I heard Dad stirring in the chair behind me. I knew what was coming next.
“Turn that back! I’m watch..i..n..g…” his voice trailed off. He saw that he was facing away from the television set.
To say that he was upset was a major understatement. We still ended up watching the end of Lawrence Welk Show. (Dad didn’t like to be proved wrong, at least not by a wet-behind-the-ears son.)
Later he showed me just how upset he was. I walked past his chair and he tried to kick me in the seat of my pants. His foot failed to connect and he slid out of his chair. That did nothing to change his mood. He was grumpy the rest of the evening and shot darts out of his eyes when I moved.