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Friday, October 07, 2005 

It's all fun and games until...

My favorite Sabbath memories growing up are of going golfing with my father. Occasionally, if one of us was a little sick or just in need of Dad time, we would be allowed to go with him over to the Cecil Field Naval Air Base golf course. He played there every Sunday morning with his brother (Uncle Bill), an optician friend (Shorty), and some other guy I can't remember.

Playing golf with Dad never meant actually playing golf. It meant driving the golf cart, holding the flag, figuring out what the five-iron was, and getting a large styrofoam cup of hot chocolate and a bacon and egg sandwich, which you would pull apart so you could dip the toast into the chocolate. It meant a lot of time on the practice putting green while Dad and his buddies settled the debts made by the various bets made on the course. It meant listening to my Father curse and his friends tell slightly off-color jokes. It appears to me now as an ex-military late-50's Eden, where the lawn was always green, the mist clung to the ground in the cool mornings, deer would occasionally wander across the fairways, and squirrels would hang around for left over bits of breakfast. I miss sitting there, wrapped in my father's coat, as he zoomed along the little asphalt paths, up and down little man-made hills like it was a roller coaster.

Of course, this all happened before I knew I wasn't supposed to be enjoying this. This sort of activity isn't appropriate for the Sabbath, I have been assured. I never know how to believe that.

My father worked a lot and went to bed early. If we wanted to see him before school, we had to be up before 6 to catch a glimpse. During the week, we had homework (and TV) to keep us occupied, along the the various church functions. Saturday was usually busy with friends, school projects, the garden, chores, and the various things you do to get ready for Sunday. Sunday was for family. Family, in my family, has always meant games.

My wife marvels at this. My family cannot get together and talk without a deck of cards. Not all of our favorite family stories revolve around games of Oh Heck, Balderdash, or Tripoley, but quite a few do. When my brother and I talk, it is, more often than not, to discuss the fate of our fantasy football teams. The bulk of my relationship with a favorite aunt was developed over games of penny-ante poker. That I am close with my cousins at all is entirely due to the existence of face cards. We all play games together and while we play, we talk, joke, tease, murmur, mumble, and shout. I won't pretend that the more profound conversations I have had in life have occurred over a card table, but most of the ones I remember have.

I hated church growing up or, rather, I hated Sacrament Meeting. Long boring talks, slow minor-key hymns, and long uncomfortable seats do not make for happy Sunday memories. But I loved the Sabbath. It was the day my family played together. It was the day when we felt most like a family.

If the Sabbath is the day that we give back to the Lord, I don't know how it could be better spent.

Every single week you blow me away. I don't feel worthy to write on the same blog as you. :)

Games were always a big deal in my family too. For my wedding, my parents got us Mexican Train Dominos because that is the game of choice at my parents house. Dustin and I play bored and card games all the time. We love it. There is something about playing a games with your family that is like nothing else. I can't wait to see what games my kids love.

JC, my old pickled egg, you're the DB. We could all do with remembering that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

That's a great family tradition: games. Unfortunately, my husband and his two brothers absolutely TORTURED their younger sister insomuch that to this day, she will not even sit at a table while scrabble is being played. Thank goodness they keep inventing new games.

I haven't mentioned this yet this week, but my grandfather was a general authority and he used to take his whole family (kids, spouces, and grandkids) out to dinner one Sunday a month. They went to The Green Parrot, and he would order 12 peppermint ice creams for dessert; no diviation from the ritual. It's one of those things...my dad chose NOT to follow that tradition, and it's something they just kind of LET grandpa do...we all kind of smiled about it, but never really talked about it...funny, huh?

I think it's just weird, the list of things we can and can't do on the Sabbath supposedly. When I was a student at BYU, I'd often ride my bike out the lake on Sunday evenings after church.Alot of good thoughts, moments with my Maker were found there. One day I asked a freind if she wanted to come. "Oh, I don't ride my bike on Sunday."

Hm, Okay.

A few summers ago I told my neighbor her kids were welcome to come swim with my kids (we have one of those big vinyl pools with a filter). She said thanks, but probably not. Later, I over heard her kids--while they were jumping on the trampoline in their yard--say to some other kids that they had been invited over to our house to swim, but couldn't becuase it was Sunday.

Hm, okay.

To each his own, I suppose. But I'm tired of all the rules and just want time with my family!

John,
Your description of church fits mine to a tee until I was about 19. The worst part was my mother wouldn't even let us lean forward or slouch! We just did whatever we did as kids but as young adults our sunday family times were always centered around games.

My wife comes from the strict kind of family. It has often led to conflict when we visit my parents once or twice a year. She won't watch TV or movies. She doesn't like playing games. I have tried to explain that I'm ok at our house if we do things differently but at home I will do whatever my family does. They are my family and I see them twice a year. Two sundays a year I "lower"my standards to bond with my family. What's a guy to do?

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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