I recall vividly when I was a child, and I couldn’t wait for family Sundays. Those were the happiest days of my childhood, enjoying time with my parents and siblings on the lakeside after the church was in the sky. My parents did the same thing as other families gathering by the lakeside for picnics and laughter; theirs was no different. Funny how things change and I’m left wondering when it was the last time I saw my parents or siblings together. Sundays were pure bliss for me, clad in my usual breeches, linen shirt, and buckled shoes, how fashion evolves another interesting issue. I was only ten years old, shorter than most of my age-mates but extremely confident. My mom and sister were in their best-sleeved stays that shaped their bodies into elegant cone shapes. My dad, the head of the family dressed like me and added a touch of his three sided hat, drove us to church. Well, he was a hardworking man and life was good to us.
Many families gathered at the church for prayers. All were beautifully dressed in different waistcoats and corset like clothes, women wore hats and looked elegant by all means. My primary focus was not on the church service. However, I looked forward to the post-church picnic by the lakeside. I was an anxious child, still am. Nature has always excited me; I find it therapeutic.
After the sermon was the frequent social gatherings, parents talking in small groups, usual greetings then we all dispersed to our different locations. Most families headed to the lake for picnics as it had become the norm. I was pretty much excited hanging out with my friends as well as siblings. The lake was serene; its dark tropical blue color went all the way from the edges to the middle part. It was still, creating a calm environment which was welcoming by all means. The sun rays glistened upon the water creating a mirror like reflection. The beauty of the lake always gave me an epiphany. Blemished toads leaped for flies and thunked on its surface. It was simply breath-taking.
My mother set up a picnic site for us; she lay down her basket of fruits and bread as we sat on a mat facing the lake. The sun rays hit our foreheads. The fig trees provided shade over our heads. A vast array of activities went on. Children were playing, other people walked their dogs, and others took boat rides while some or most of us sat down enjoying the view.
The use of umbrella then was widespread. Not only was it used for shade but it was also a fashion state for women. Most men saw it as a feminine accessory and preferred hats which are different from now when both males and females use umbrellas. In this case, however, the sun shone brightly hence umbrellas were in plenty. As we sat enjoying the view, my dad would tell a story of himself when he was young I particularly loved how articulate and descriptive he was. My small sister would ask a myriad of questions which my dad happily answered.
Usually, we spent over three hours listening to stories and counting boats on the lakes until the cold breeze started settling in then we would go home. Thus, this was not only a good family bonding experience, but it also helped in clearing our minds after a long week. I now understand where my obsession with nature and its ways came from.
Reminiscing this Sunday afternoon brought a lot of mixed feelings and emotions. I miss the old times and wish we could do that again, but times have changed, and my parents are now old. We the children are all busy, and no one seems to have time anymore. I, however, am glad that we made the most out of this moments, I now fully understand that time is an element that one can’t get back, so we need to make the most of the very moment.