Afternoons often included chores as well (my least favourite.) In the summertime I was fairly safe because I was too short to mow the lawn or vacuum the carpeting so I was free to run hog wild around the house (outside) or neighbourhood. In autumn there were leaves to rake & haul to the curb in between leaping in the piles, & in winter I'd make frequent treks back to to my grade school a few blocks away which had the best sledding hill in the neighborhood.
One of the most ubiquitous Sunday memories of mine is Dad using the old Webber grill to cook supper. Steaks, hamburgers, corn on the cob, baked potatoes. It stays with me to this day & thankfully Dad as well, for if he grills at all it's on a Sunday afternoon.
I remember one particular autumn afternoon playing in the old backyard. Dad had not built the wooden deck addition onto the back of the house so there was a lot more lawn to play in, the closest thing we had to a garage was a large wooden shed Dad made by himself for lawn tools, fishing gear & his Harley - Davidson motorcycle, & the driveway was still a pair of gravel paths separated by a long mound of weeds extending to the street. - My early memories live on a time line of images such as these rather than a list of dates or calendar pages. -- Dad had the grill going & supper was cooking swiftly along. I was swinging on my blue swingset watching him across the back yard & noticing that when the grill was covered for a while & he lifted the lid to check the meat a large billowing cloud of smoke & steam would rush out & hang above the lawn before dissipating in the light breeze. After watching him a couple times I worked up my courage to ask something which I deemed could quite possibly be dangerous. I didn't want to be scolded for asking to do something silly & reckless but if I still wanted to try it because it seemed like fun. Could I play in the smoke from the grill?
I don't remember Dad's reaction other than that it was not negative or extreme in any way. Unmemorable, so to speak. So until the meal was ready, whenever he came out to check on the grill I would hurry over & leap through the white clouds scented of charcoal & meat. I'd plunge through, whirl around, dance, whatever inspired me at the moment. For a brief moment here & there the whiteness was all I could see. Like fog in sunshine.
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