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Pandemic Weekends

Snow melt heading to the lake on March 3, 2021.

In the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic, weekends are less of a thing. Days go by. Without a calendar, one day can’t be distinguished from another. Even before the pandemic, when I worked full time, the idea of a Monday through Friday work week followed by a weekend was seldom reality.

Perhaps the best expression of weekend culture I experienced was in June 1977, while on temporary duty with the French Infantry Marines in Brittany. I arrived on a Friday and was whisked away to a small cafe where at once we began putting away cognac while introducing ourselves. After checking into lodging and changing clothes, there was an afternoon meet up at the officers’ club with more pastis than I can remember as officers kept buying rounds. This was followed by an evening dinner with Chinese-style food, champagne and wine at the home of a field grade officer.

Saturday morning was free time. I walked from my room to downtown Vannes where I observed women making lace near the sea as had been done for generations. Rejoining my host and a friend, we dined that evening at a restaurant serving oysters of Locmariaquer. Although I’d never eaten oysters, we ordered the signature, regional dish and chatted over the meal. After dinner we went to a dance with a live band and were out late.

I began Sunday with a run. It became a day of eating and drinking again with an afternoon meal at a private home, followed by a dinner of snacks from the ice box and pantry at my host’s apartment. By Monday I felt somewhat “poisoned in my veins” from all the food and drink of the weekend. Maybe one needs to drink alcohol for a weekend to exist. Given the popularity of beer with televised sports, I’m not wrong.

In retirement, even without the pandemic, the weekend is a bit challenging. Since we’re mostly at home and have no relatives living close, there’s little to distinguish it from the rest of the week. In a usual scenario the weekend is centered around meals with home made pizza Friday night, home made soup on Saturday, and Sunday night open as we prepare to begin the next week.

When young, attending church services was part of the weekend. I remember the change of Vatican II when we could attend Mass Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday. In some ways, attending church framed the weekend when I still lived at home. The churches near Big Grove don’t really fit. Instead of church, I read on Sunday afternoons and often take a nap.

Our daughter began streaming last year. She streams a crafting program Sunday afternoons in which I usually participate. With this, meals, and a life to live, we’ll eventually assemble some kind of weekend normalcy. The pandemic has been sobering to the detriment of how I remember the weekend. The good news is there is a chance to re-invent it for the better.

Like with anything we must make the most of what opportunities present themselves.