How I Learned Church

Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As far as days of the week are concerned, Sunday is the difference. You can just feel a Sunday without much effort, in much the same way a singer can identify a pitch out of thin air. Whereas Michael Corleone’s first wife- the lovely Apollonia- easily confused the other six days of the week with their bunkmates, she always nailed the one day that was common language, from Sicily to Flatbush.

When I was ten years old, I was an awkward mess of buckteeth and bushy hair and the most geometrically absurd pair of glasses. I was shy, painfully so. If shyness had been a contest, my closet would’ve been full of blue ribbons. The safe haven for me came in the form of books and baseball and music. I could lock the rest of the great big world out of my room and daydream about a future time and place when I wouldn’t feel so out of place.

These love affairs in miniature gifted me liberty from my clumsy toiling through all the nascent lessons my too young self couldn’t yet grasp. My habits were the better chances, delivered from the mysterious belly of a universe whose plans for me were kept in escrow until I grew out of my sad little britches. And Sunday was when all my hopes and dreams came calling, in peaceful little drips.

I happened to be a fledgling explorer when it came to the religion of CafΓ© con leche. My method was equal parts a charming ignorance and an earnest deconstruction; I possessed a rudimentary blueprint that substituted espresso with Folgers and scalding hot milk with a cold, heavily sugared alternative. If you grow up with any kind of Latin influence, you understand your serving sizes when it comes to sugar as heaping and diabetic. It’s how I stayed honest enough to the recipe.

I’d tote the brimming mug back to my room and then get lost in the brilliant math of a morning after baseball box-score. I sipped at my CafΓ© and pored over the out of town scores before fixing on the exploits of my Yankees. Bucky, Willie and Blair more often than not took the collar and that was alright since defense was their bread and butter. Nettles and Chambliss and Rivers were always good for the rest of it. And then there was Reggie, who served as the front man for a band of talented miscreants. I imagined his murderously quick wrists turning on a hanging fastball inside his church as the congregation roared its approval.

It was during this time when I kinda felt as if Sunday had been created just so’s Lionel Richie could sing his love letter on the radio. I would listen closely to try and hear that intoxicating scratch as the stylus teased vinyl before diving in. In a world full of sophisticated complications, this was one I never got tired of knowing. My senses crushed on that sound.

They still do.


37 thoughts on “How I Learned Church

  1. Dear Marco,

    Happy Sunday. I recently found myself musing on Sunday mornings as a child. Church was definitely not part of the equation in our, albeit nominally, Jewish household. Instead, it meant my parents and brother slept late leaving me to my own devices. This meant kids shows and eating chocolate when no one was looking. Later that morning when everyone rose from their beds, it meant coffee and bacon aromas permeating the air. (I mentioned nominally Jewish, right?) But my fondest Sunday memory was my dad playing his classical records. Dvorak, Brahms, Beethoven, and Schubert among them. Not to mention Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. And not just classical. He brought home Barbra Streisand’s first album, saying, “She’s going to be someone.”
    Again, happy Sunday and thanks for the memories.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Rochelle,

      What great memories you have. And good thing for the nominal participation because let’s face it, bacon makes everything a whole lot better. Even if I haven’t partaken in ages.

      Chocolates. That’s one of the privileges of adulthood. We don’t have to hide the evidence any longer. πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, I think that Barbara did alright for herself. πŸ˜‰



      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this song! It is me in a nutshell. Sundays are family. From church in the morning to a leisurely brunch of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, toast, fried tomatoes. It is making me nostalgic. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post! Relatable, on so many levels.

    And the song Easy? Loved it so much when it came out that I bought the sheet music so I could play it ad nauseum on my piano and sing along. Might have to dig out that music and play it this evening…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First all, great writing!

    Sundays of yesteryear were much different than today. Keep in mind that I have years on you Sunday was a time to immerse into the Sunday newspaper, to visit others, and Sunday afternoon dinners, and yes. The stores were closed – including groceries and pharmacies (which were separate in those days). Sunday was a day for a drive in the country, soft serve ice cream, and a bucket of KFC. A time for watching the boats on the river and if we were lucky, the firemen were cooking and selling grilled chicken dinners. Growing up when I did, church was a morning activity for most, which included the sound of different bells across the quiet town. Even then Sunday in the fall was a day for football, but it started with the 1-hour condensed broadcast of Saturday’s Notre Dame game with Lindsey Nelson and his loud sportcoasts. Yes – Sunday was a day to take it easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love how this post has brought back memories for everyone who has commented. THAT is very inspiring to me and needless to say, I am super chuffed.

      As for your memories, Frank, there is a theme. Family and neighborhood. Those connections were bond, and Sunday was the anchor day. Now it seems that the days of the week have gone the way of people living in the same house and working the same job. It’s kinda sad.

      Thank you for the memories Cincy

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Babe,

    This is beautiful. I know, I’m repeating myself but boy, oy boy is your writing fabulous. Sundays are their own special thing, there is no denying that.

    I’m trying to picture you as that ten year-old boy. I was gangly and buck-toothed but thankfully coordinated, which put me in good stead with the athletes. Once I changed to an English school, that is. Bizarrely, the French school’s version of sports was Dodgeball. That’s it.

    I love your CafΓ© con leche description. Could you imagine trying to drink that today? Lawsy…

    Sunday cartoons sucked, replaced by all those sinning… I mean God-fearing, wackos taking over every channel. I escaped to the park across the street to hang upside down on the monkey bars and swing high, trying to catch the clouds, coming home for lunch and Dad’s whistle (in late fall and winter) for supper. I often lament that I don’t seem to have any special memories like you and your readers. My mother says I was zero interested in what went on at home. If that were the case, would I not remember other stuff?

    That said, the only thing sacred in my house was Sunday night dinner. All the way up until my parents divorced – which means, though two of us had moved out, we came back, boyfriends in tow, for that weekly sit-down. I have to admit, I really miss those days.

    When I was 18-19, I would stay over at my boyfriend’s and, along with his roommate and his girlfriend, Sundays meant putting on the Four Seasons (record, of course) and cooking up a huge veggie omelette, served with croissants, Brie, pΓ’tΓ©s and gallons of coffee. Ahhh to be able to scarf and not suffer the consequences.

    Lionel Ritchie’s soothing voice belongs on Sunday mornings, doesn’t it? I will never tire of that song. Ever.

    Beautiful post.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Q

      Sundays have a definite feel to them.

      I was very clumsy and awkward. I had trouble pronouncing certain words too. What a mess I was!

      Cafe con Leche? I do! πŸ˜‰

      I had dysfunctional memories is all. My family was a bigger mess than I was. I mean, back then I wasn’t completely aware of just how much so.

      I find it interesting how many families had a day devoted to family dinners. My family did Sunday breakfast-ish more than anything. Not every week, but most? I don’t remember dinners though.

      I remember those days! Eat everything and anything, chase it with smokes and even a beer or several. No problemo.

      One of the best Sunday songs ever.

      Gracias lovely!


      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the song!
    You sound cute as buttons when you were young!
    Folgers and hot milk? I need quite a while to muse on that!

    I suppose many of us hatch from our eggshells at some point.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. This was not what I expected from the title
    And it was a nice twist
    Enjoyed the way you led us to the “easy like Sunday morning” song
    Oh and that coffee all sweet and doctored up reminded me of when we had Similar coffee – but no mas sugar for me

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you like the twist. All the way to the sung that serves up Sundays so very well.

      Yes, I have cut back on my sugar intake as well. Funny thing is, I was always a sweet tooth until the one year I gave up sugar for Lent. After that, I never had the same craving for the stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good morning amigo
        Well giving up for sugar was not an option – I couldn’t repair my body terrain until I eliminated it and it took years …. sigh – and I thought I had cut down but didn’t realize that certain things were processed like sugar – – so after a while if not even having fruit – (mostly meat and healthy nuts and keto pancakes (with eggs and almond/cassava flour ) but now I can have watermelon –
        Papaya – berries – etc
        Anyhow – glad
        Your short fast from sugar for lent led to good fruits! Pun intended – hahha

        Liked by 1 person

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