*Somerset, PA Daily American April 30, 2010
as "There's Something About Saturdays"
as "There's Something About Saturdays"
Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Couey
Like people, the days of the week each have their own reputation. Monday is most often the demon of the group, at least until football season, while Friday gets all the glory.
The origin of these names is intertwined with cultures dating back a thousand years. Sunday is “Day of the Sun,” and depending on the culture can be either the first or the last day of the week. Monday derives from “Day of the Moon.” Tuesday comes from Tiw, the Old English god of war. Wednesday, the one with the odd spelling, was named for the god Woden. Interestingly, in Germany this one morphed into Mittwok, or “mid-week.” (In Spanish, it is “miercoles,” for the god Mercury.) Thursday is named for the Old English god Thunor, and also the Norse god Thor. Friday became the day of the goddess Venus (Frige in Old English).
But of all the days of the week, none hold a special place equal to Saturday.
Saturday was named for the ringed planet Saturn, the loveliest and most enigmatic of the Sun’s planetary children. And that’s appropriate. There’s something innately beautiful about Saturday.
Now before you start on your angry email to me, let me hasten to say that Sunday is a day of beauty as well. It is the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath for most Western churches. It is the day when we gather with friends and neighbors to fellowship with each other and worship.
But for all its sacredness, Sunday is still a day tinged with sadness. Monday, after all, lies in wait just beyond the horizon, crouched and ready to spring.
But Saturday is different. Saturday is the day we can ignore the alarm clock. And even when we get up late, the day is still brimming with possibilities. There is work to be done to be sure. But it is our work. And that makes it better and more…shall we say…”fun” than our Monday through Friday labors. All week long, we have set aside chores with the satisfying phrase “I’ll do it Saturday” slipping from our lips. Poor Saturday must feel picked on at times, protesting, “You do know I’m only 24 hours, don’t you?”
If you’re young and single, or have children about the house, then Saturday is Game Day. Football in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring and summer, and soccer seemingly all year long crowd the schedule with practices during the week. But on Saturday, players take the field with skills honed and game faces set. And as the sun glides across the sky above, athletic dramas are played out below as athletes and their shadows race across the ground.
As afternoon gives way to evening, we all troop homeward to prepare for the excitement of Saturday night.
It’s Date Night; time for partying or romance, or perhaps both. In cities and towns alike, neon lights add excitement, dancing and flashing madly. We walk the streets with joy, all sense of obligation lifted for a few hours. For us family types, maybe we’ll pile the kids in the car and take off for the local movie theater or concert hall. In the summer, the grill is prepped and lit, and soon the enticing smell of barbecue wafts across the yard.
For most of us it is the most social day of the week when we reconnect with friends, neighbors, and especially, each other.
The glorious freedom of Saturday ends at different times. Families may be home in bed by 10 p.m., while the footloose may go on until the eastern sky begins to brighten. But for all of us, it has been a full day. We have worked, played, and partied to exhaustion. Tomorrow is Sunday, and we must be more serious. The work week, with its barges to be toted, and bales to be lifted, we will wear like a horse wears a saddle.
But through it all, we look forward to that perfect day, the 24 hours we can live on our own terms; framed by our own priorities and driven by the yearnings of our hearts.
Welcome to Saturday; welcome to life.