Reflections on a Sunday Drive

Whenever I think of Sunday afternoon, I think of Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park.” The song describes such a relaxing, beautiful, sunny afternoon that I almost have to shade my eyes. My Saturdays are more about work while Sunday is a natural fit for relaxation. I think the expectation of productivity is low on Sunday as the presumption is that productivity will be dialed up high come Monday. Anyway, it’s Sunday afternoon and I am writing.

When I was little, Sunday meant dinner after church; either Grandma Nelson’s place or Grandma Z’s place. Uncle Jack would walk down to the old store on Tindolph and get us ice cream after we ate. When we ate at Grandma and Grandpa Zavorals place those wild Olson cousins would show up which was pretty fun. Sometimes we ate at a restaurant; I liked the Country Kitchen because they had an individual jukebox at each booth. I liked the music but I also found making my own music choices quite novel. We also ate Sunday dinner at the Hi-By. This restaurant was in the old Twice but Nice building and so named because it was located BY the HI-ghway. They had such a good game room and the coolest animated Hamm’s Beer signs. The game room even featured one of those Helicopter Trainer arcade games which was just plain awesome.

Sunday afternoon’s used to mean a drive in the country and they still do. I would sit in the back seat and be chauffeured around by my mom and dad while we listened to Polka music on the radio. Uncle Sig had a show out of Grafton and it was pretty neat in retrospect although back then I was unimpressed. He used to sing the “birthday song” for everyone and it was the sort of dark, dour tune that the Nordic people just love for celebrations. It made a birthday more of a check mark on the map to the eternal beyond than anything else. Anyway, I liked the Polka music although the reception was poor.
Lisa and I enjoy Sunday drives and were on a recent tour of Newfolden. There’s a beautiful park were Stan Holmaas once operated his grocery store. Lisa and I were trying to find the old Westaker Lutheran only to find it had become an electrician’s office and warehouse. The town looked really nice and we happened to drive through an alley and found Dean Broten working in his back yard. We stopped and said hello to my former neighbor and shared a lot of memories of Viking. Sunday’s a nice like that for little surprises.

All that nostalgia and memories are a nice place to visit. The only way I can get to there is during a quiet drive through a Sunday. I give myself this day to enjoy all of those old things as tomorrow is Monday; there will be no time for my memories of grandma’s dinner, Uncle Jack’s ice cream or those cool Hamm’s Beer signs.

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