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Sunday Night Blues

By: Jefferson Weaver

I have never really liked Sunday nights.

It is a tendency I have noted before, and one which people rarely fail to remind me I share with another writer, a columnist whose work I sometimes respected, even if his life was always a mess. Disagree as we might have on a number of subjects, this is one where we had common ground, for different reasons.

It is not so much fear or loathing of the malevolent malignancy of a Monday that causes my Sunday night blues. Nor is it a sense of losing a weekend, since weekends usually just mean a bit less work for the job that feeds my family, and a bit more at some of the other things I enjoy.

Sunday nights have always just had a certain sadness, whether it was returning from a rare trip out of town with my folks, or when I had to return to school the next morning when I still had a lot of weekend on my mind.  When I was still able to get to Sunday night service at church, that was almost always a bright spot, but when the sun drops behind the trees, the Sunday nights rise along with the moon and mosquitoes. There was a time several of us would linger long after Sunday night Bible study simply because none of us wanted to admit Monday was coming hard and fast.

When I worked for a weekly newspaper, Sunday afternoon was actually the start of the workweek, when we faced a Tuesday deadline. True, at some papers I called home, the Sunday night workflow was actually fun – occasionally too much so, but that is a column for another day.

The digital nature of my trade has removed the necessity of some of that, at least on my beat, but Sunday night is still when those tasks left unfinished on Friday rear their heads and crawl out of their dens like angry, hungry, post-hibernation bears.

For reasons I don’t understand, I’ve spent a lot of Sunday nights in hospitals with my parents and others. Sometimes it was simply a bad choice made on a sunny Sunday afternoon, sometimes it was more serious, but there was a time I had memorized the TV channels in one emergency department.

Sunday night funeral visitations were always sadder, for some reason, but the worst was when someone was buried on Sunday afternoon. If you have never gone through the death of someone close to you, you won’t understand that first night’s emptiness.

I must emphasize – I love Sunday morning. Even in these strange times, when our church and many others have foreshortened services for safety, Sunday morning is my favorite time, even when worshipping from home.

Sunday afternoons were always time for family and friends; before I got too grownup and stupid, the Old Man and I used to spend some of Sunday afternoon together, fishing, finding a baseball game, or just driving. I understand that growing up involves doing other than hanging out with your parents, but I can candidly admit I was an idiot to slowly ease into doing some other stuff on Sunday afternoons when I could have, should have been with my father.

But Sunday night means all that is done.

During that strange, magical time my dad worked for a circus, Sunday nights meant I had to leave my friends and return home to go to school the next morning. While they were heading up the road to another town and another two or three-day show, I was headed back to a room filled with mere mortal kids who didn’t get to spend the weekends with a best friend named Kazoo, a beauty queen girlfriend (once a Miss America contestant, so they said) who rode horses, and a clown even older than my dad who had an elephant younger than I was.

Sunday nights meant scrubbing the dirt and worm guts and blood from a young outdoorsman’s fingernails and making sure that neither he nor his faithful dog had brought home any ticks. Sunday nights meant setting aside the fishing rods that stayed tied to my bicycle frame and making sure my hunting clothes were in the laundry so they’d be ready for a stolen afternoon or the next Saturday, which often seemed a desolate decade away.

Too many times, I have driven home alone on a Sunday night, very late, having dropped my beloved wife off at her parents’ home, so they could get an early start on a trip or to the latest doctor’s appointments.

When we were courting, the sadness was even more acute, since we were young and begrudged any moment spent apart. After 28 years together – 29, including the courtship – we have a more mature and philosophical understanding, but it doesn’t make the loneliness any less acute. There are few things as beautifully sad as a long dark country road on a Sunday night with the radio blasting blues, true heartfelt country, or the right heartfelt rock songs. The right musician will not only make you think someone understands but keep you awake, too.

Too often nowadays Sunday nights mean I still have more on the to-do list than on the did-and-done list, and with the daily diet of mayhem awaiting Monday morning, those items will just have to wait their turn whilst weighing on my mind. Those often steal much of a night’s rest, if I allow them to do so, meaning Sunday night becomes one of those where the dawn never seems to come, and you aren’t sure whether to welcome it with open arms or curse it for taking so dodgasted long to get here.

Between one victory, losses and hard lessons, I have learned to treasure each and every sunrise and sunset, and to encourage others to do so.

Sunday nights, however, will always be hard to love.

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