When I was growing up in South Carolina, Sundays were all about church. While my mother insisted on baths almost every night of the week, Saturday night marked our most vigorous ablutions. While my sisters and I lined up for Mom to curl our hair Saturday night, wrapping the thin ends of our locks in toilet paper and fixing them to our heads with bobby pins, we were allowed to watch television, a rare treat in my household. We each had a Sunday dress and shoes used only for church.
My mother never cooked on Sunday. It was the only day of the week that I remember her staying in bed most of the afternoon, reading. She had the odd perk of managing a dining hall at my father’s residential school. So we got a tray of food from the dining hall and ate leftovers for supper. Sometimes on Sunday nights she would lead us in small lessons on the Bible.
“Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy” whispers the fourth commandment (Exodus 20). For my family, Sabbath was as much about church attendance as about rest and a break from worldly things. Little did I realize then that this observance of Sabbath was quickly growing anachronistic and, in the course of the next 30 years, would largely be lost.