Three-day weekends are a rarity in the newspaper business, but last week brought one and it was – as all three-day weekends are – most welcome.
Saturday was spent working my way to the bottom of my desk and cleaning out the email inbox and the computer desktop of things that had long since been dealt with. Monday was a day of grass-cutting and tending to items on my wife’s honey-do list.
But Sunday. Ah, Sunday. We traveled to South Hill, Virginia where my father-in-law lives to celebrate a slew of May birthdays in our family, including my wife’s, one of my daughters’, my sister-in-law’s and my late mother-in-law, who would have been 82 this month.
After church we traveled into town for lunch at Cracker Barrel. My daughter noted on her Twitter feed that you know you’re in a small town when, after church, the entire congregation travels in a caravan to Cracker Barrel for lunch.
Lunch was nice, the company was better, but the best was yet to come.
Those who know me, understand that I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, but I married into a family that dearly loves to sing. And they do it well, if I do say so myself. Fortunately, my children got their musical genes from their mother and not me.
After we returned from lunch, my wife sat down at the piano and started reeling off a couple hymns. In times past, that would be my signal to walk into the living room, lay down the floor and drift off.
But this Sunday, I didn’t want to fall asleep during our short visit. So I sat in a chair and listened to my wife play and my daughter sing. Soon, our other daughter came into the room. Then my sister-in-law appeared and, finally, my father-in-law walked into the room.
If hymns aren’t your favorite kind of music, that’s OK, but even if they had been harmonizing to the latest bluegrass tunes or the Eagles, you can imagine the excitement I felt as they all searched through a bookshelf of Broadman Hymnals looking for songs to sing together. The only place I’ve ever seen more hymnals than that family has is in an actual church.
Their impromptu jam session (can you jam to gospel hymns?) lasted about seven or eight songs and about 30 minutes. I made at least three requests, which were graciously honored. We stayed in South Hill for several more hours before we loaded up and returned to Wake County, but in my mind the day had long since reached its peak.
Sunday is often a day of work for me as I prepare for Monday deadlines, but because I did not have those deadlines this past Monday, I was free to travel with my family.
It was a perfect way to get the most out of a three-day weekend. I’m already sizing up the calendar for the next opportunity to listen in on the next family concert. It soothes my spirit and overcomes all the ills of the workaday life.
And more than anything, it makes me crave a three-day weekend at every turn.