Religious lady at the coffee shop yesterday

started telling me how she was missing church in order to make coffee. Brought to mind the many Sundays I experienced in the 1950s and early ’60s back in Winnipeg when not much was shakin’ on Sundays. Many people then still went to church, major stores were closed, and Sundays were largely “a day of rest” for most of the populace. I would seldom see any friends those days. The only things happening were the Winnipeg Warriors hockey games and maybe the occasional concert. On the tube, families and kids watched Walt Disney around 5 or 6 pm and the Ed Sullivan variety show brightened up Sunday evenings (where so many of my generation first saw Elvis and The Beatles play live).

But once I got into senior high (1964), that began to change with my new Silver Heights friends; any day was eligible for socializing freely. I can still remember being surprised that a nearby church windowed basement had a dance going on in the evening with The Deverons (Burton Cummings’ original band); a church teen group put it on. When I started working Sundays periodically in 1967, it really came home that people had always worked Sundays to keep essential services like hospitals and buses running to accommodate real needs, Later when I came to Edmonton in 1968 and 1970, it was really still Deadsville here on Sundays–nothing open, nothing on except for the Klondike Days promenade during which the downtown streets were closed off.

The woman in the coffee shop yesterday reminded me of how Sundays had changed over the decades and how our country lost a lot of peace and quietness as it turned Sunday more into just another busy day full of possible activities. In our family and home, Sunday usually remains a family day with visiting and celebrating par for the course. Yesterday my daughter and her companion came over for a delivered Chinese food repast on St. Patrick’s Day. I spent the afternoon before that attending an Edmonton Stroll of Poets AGM where I sold some copies of my new book, reconnected and socialized with poet-friends, and even read one 1990 poem that went over well with the best possible audience for poetry in town. No, none of the latter would have been typical or possible in those olde Sundays so long ago.

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