Saturdays were awesome. Although they meant Dad had to work, they also meant I got my favorite cheeseburger, fries and vanilla shake for lunch. It was also the day Mom cleaned house and we knew to stay out of her way. I planted myself on the couch early with a book— only moving to the kitchen when Dad got home from work with lunch. When she came through with the dust sucker, I lifted my feet without losing my spot on the page.
As the day wore on, there was always discussion about if we were going to see Grandma and Grandpa. I never understood the pretense of indecision— we always spent Saturday nights with them and I loved my time with them. We went to the same family restaurant where Dad would motion to pay, but Grandpa would insist on treating us. With overstuffed bellies, we returned to their house and headed downstairs to play pool. Grandpa would turn on the record player and the scratchy sound of John Philips Sousa would fill the air. After a few rounds, Grandpa and my parents retired to the dining room to play pinochle. Sometimes Grandma and I would stay downstairs and play Bunco— this was long before it was a popular yuppy game. Most nights, we would settle into the deep cushions of the couch and watch Texas Walker Ranger and The Golden Girls. We would hear the clank of change against the table as someone tossed money into the kitty. Every once in a while someone would curse— realizing a silly mistake that cost them a bit of money. It was all in good fun. After a while we would both doze off until my parents came into the room to tell me it was time to go home.
Those memories are so familiar to me that it seems impossible that it was more than 30 years ago. Grandma and Grandpa have been gone for over twenty years now, but I have such a crystal clear picture in my head of their love for each other and for our family. What a beautiful gift they gave us.