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Saturdays were special

I think it’s good to reach back into the memory bank and pull up names and events of years gone by. So many things about the past are etched so indelibly in my mind, and that is probably the reason why, when I first started writing this column more than 25 years ago, we decided to call it “Looking Back”. For the most part the majority of my columns have followed that theme. Over the years I have covered many subjects, some that required extensive research, while others were childhood memories that only required a pen and paper, and a tuning back of the calendar.
Sometimes it is hard to come up with a subject, and at other times subjects just pop up, like when I noticed on an out of date newspaper on my table with a story entitled “ Make me a Child Again on Saturday.” My thoughts quickly went back more than 60 years when I was in High School, and lived on a tobacco farm in Eastern Virginia This was a time when Saturdays were so special that the days that fell in between one Saturday and another passed like months. As soon as my eyes opened on those wonderful mornings, I could tell without looking that it was Saturday. It just felt different. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, or if it was a rainy day, the drops seemed to beat a more peaceful tune as it spattered against the bedroom window, or on the tin roof.
In those days no television cartoons waited to entertain; no, not even a television set. That was for the future, but the day that lay ahead was always filled with more excitement that any modern machine could possibly bring. To start with, there was the aroma of side meat frying and sizzling on the kitchen stove was enough to draw any youngster out of bed. And by the time I was up and dressed the table was set and family members gathered around to begin the day with food and fellowship. The old homemade wooden bench was my favorite seat. Sometimes there was barely enough food to go around in those depression days, but for whatever food graced the table, my father never failed to have a blessing. When I think back on it, I have concluded that no breakfast I have had since could have tasted any better than that fried side meat with hot buttered biscuits and milk gravy.
Milking the cow and feeding the hogs and chickens came a little easier on Saturday, because this was the day when the mule was hitched to the old farm wagon for a three mile ride into South Hill, to purchase supplies for another week. Any family member was free to pile on, and it was a trip I hardly ever missed. There was no rush to get there and none to get back. The little farming town was small, but on Saturday, I believe about everyone in the entire county was there. Some came to shop, but I believe most of them came just to be with the crowd.
Saturday was grocery-buying day, and a clerk, who would take our order, running all over the store fetching one item at a time, waited on every customer.
When he was through, he would grab a large paper bag and a pencil and list the price of each item, and add the figures in his head. If it added up to enough dollars, the store manager sometimes slipped in a little bonus, like a candy bar or so. In the afternoon there was always a western movie on, and we carefully saved pennies during the week, aiming at the dime or fifteen cents for admission. An entire afternoon of Tim McCoy, Buck Jones or some other star with Betty Boop or Popeye cartoons plus a serial, all for less than a quarter.
A refreshment bar waited at the exit door for those more affluent. This was operated by a man I only knew as Ike. He purchased an ad in our high school annual the year I graduated, that read. “Poor Ike, Ugly but Honest.”
The ride back home was a time of rehashing the events of the day. Upon reaching home supper was waiting. I don’t remember there being a great variety of foods, but I do remember the hot biscuits. Believe it or not, my mother made hot biscuits for every meal. If there was enough daylight left, and it happened to be a very hot day, we would often make a big freezer full of ice cream, and invite neighbors from nearby to help us eat it. Yes, Saturdays always were, and always will be, special.

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Saturdays were special

I think it’s good to reach back into the memory bank and pull up names and events of years gone by. So many things about the past are etched so indelibly in my mind, and that is probably the reason why, when I first started writing this column more than 25 years ago, we decided to call it “Looking Back”. For the most part the majority of my columns have followed that theme. Over the years I have covered many subjects, some that required extensive research, while others were childhood memories that only required a pen and paper, and a tuning back of the calendar.
Sometimes it is hard to come up with a subject, and at other times subjects just pop up, like when I noticed on an out of date newspaper on my table with a story entitled “ Make me a Child Again on Saturday.” My thoughts quickly went back more than 60 years when I was in High School, and lived on a tobacco farm in Eastern Virginia This was a time when Saturdays were so special that the days that fell in between one Saturday and another passed like months. As soon as my eyes opened on those wonderful mornings, I could tell without looking that it was Saturday. It just felt different. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, or if it was a rainy day, the drops seemed to beat a more peaceful tune as it spattered against the bedroom window, or on the tin roof.
In those days no television cartoons waited to entertain; no, not even a television set. That was for the future, but the day that lay ahead was always filled with more excitement that any modern machine could possibly bring. To start with, there was the aroma of side meat frying and sizzling on the kitchen stove was enough to draw any youngster out of bed. And by the time I was up and dressed the table was set and family members gathered around to begin the day with food and fellowship. The old homemade wooden bench was my favorite seat. Sometimes there was barely enough food to go around in those depression days, but for whatever food graced the table, my father never failed to have a blessing. When I think back on it, I have concluded that no breakfast I have had since could have tasted any better than that fried side meat with hot buttered biscuits and milk gravy.
Milking the cow and feeding the hogs and chickens came a little easier on Saturday, because this was the day when the mule was hitched to the old farm wagon for a three mile ride into South Hill, to purchase supplies for another week. Any family member was free to pile on, and it was a trip I hardly ever missed. There was no rush to get there and none to get back. The little farming town was small, but on Saturday, I believe about everyone in the entire county was there. Some came to shop, but I believe most of them came just to be with the crowd.
Saturday was grocery-buying day, and a clerk, who would take our order, running all over the store fetching one item at a time, waited on every customer.
When he was through, he would grab a large paper bag and a pencil and list the price of each item, and add the figures in his head. If it added up to enough dollars, the store manager sometimes slipped in a little bonus, like a candy bar or so. In the afternoon there was always a western movie on, and we carefully saved pennies during the week, aiming at the dime or fifteen cents for admission. An entire afternoon of Tim McCoy, Buck Jones or some other star with Betty Boop or Popeye cartoons plus a serial, all for less than a quarter.
A refreshment bar waited at the exit door for those more affluent. This was operated by a man I only knew as Ike. He purchased an ad in our high school annual the year I graduated, that read. “Poor Ike, Ugly but Honest.”
The ride back home was a time of rehashing the events of the day. Upon reaching home supper was waiting. I don’t remember there being a great variety of foods, but I do remember the hot biscuits. Believe it or not, my mother made hot biscuits for every meal. If there was enough daylight left, and it happened to be a very hot day, we would often make a big freezer full of ice cream, and invite neighbors from nearby to help us eat it. Yes, Saturdays always were, and always will be, special.

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