It is Sunday, which means a family pancake breakfast, maybe even with bacon, always with orange juice. After our breakfast off to church. Sometimes, sometimes we don’t bother, there were months and years that we didn’t bother, instead, we laze around a bit, perhaps make a half-hearted attempt at the homework we have put off. My mother works in the yard, clean up. I help her a bit, It is fall the trees are yellow, leaves flutter to the ground, the sun is low and warm on my face. In spite of the sun, the air is crisp. Fall in Anchorage is lovely, and a lazy fall Sunday is even more so.
Because it is is Sunday, it also means football. Watched live of course, there were no DVRs or even VCRs back then. It was the era of Joe Namath. Terry Bradshaw. Amazing players with big personalities. An admission. Although I spent HOURS of my youth watching football with my brothers and my dad, I never did figure out the game. For me, it was much more about the personalities, I loved the broadcasters, the commercials, being with my family. For my dad and brothers, maybe even my sister, football was serious business. You. Do. Not. Talk. During. The Game! The deadly seriousness was interrupted by bouts of yelling, jumping, cheering. We jumped up during commercials and ran for drinks, snacks, loading a few dishes, switching laundry, letting the dog our or the cat in and a chance to use the bathroom, racing back before the game started again.
In spite of the big breakfast, football also meant mixed nuts. I know this is a small detail, but it was something we did…. every single time. We passed the can around, and you were supposed to just reach in and take whatever handful you got, no putting back the Brazil nuts, or hi-grading out the almonds. My dad had a “dad chair,” a lazy boy type of chair, and the rest of us piled on the plaid couch, my mom, taking a break from her garden sits in one corner, her feet tucked under, maybe crocheting, maybe needlepoint. She liked to keep her hands busy, especially if she was attempting to cut back or quit smoking. That left the rest of the couch for the four of us. We piled together, maybe sitting on the floor, afternoon sun streaming through the window, whatever dog we had at the time curled up nearby.
Time slowed down on those Sunday afternoons, the game was over, you were either happy that your team won, or were disappointed that they lost. The sun was dim on the horizon and evening crept in, bringing those unfinished chores, laundry if you wanted clean clothes the next week, homework if you wanted good grades, dinner to fix if you were hungry.