“Then I crossed the empty street
on the sleeping city sidewalks
Something in a Sunday makes a fella feel so all alone”
Those words are from the Song”Sunday Morning Coming Down” written in 1969 by Kris Kristoffersen, and today the notion of a big city totally shut down on a Sunday sounds absurd. But in 1969 that was the norm, even in the big city’s like Toronto or New York and of course in our little part of the world here in Hespeler,Galt and Preston.
I remember getting up on a Sunday Morning and going to church ,but more importantly i remember the family breakfasts that would occur at the family home immediately after church. There would almost always be Aunts and Uncles, cousins , Great Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents gathered around the table just getting ready to dig into a big heaping of Bacon, Eggs and pancakes, and for some strange reason i can still smell the strawberry and raspberry jam that would be going on the freshly baked bread that was toasted on the old-fashioned stove top toaster. But this story is not about that, it is about what was going on outside the comfort of the big dining room on Cooper street.
Nothing, absolutely sweet nothing. There was very little traffic, no car radios blasting music, all you could hear was the sounds of kids playing and dogs barking. We would go for a Sunday walk and there was no Tim Hortens to go to, no Grocery Store open to run to, if you didn’t get your beer on Saturday before 5:00 you up the creek without an opener, so to speak. The downtown core that had been bustling the day before was now shut down tight. The butcher shop was silent, the five and dime store that i had spent a good hour in the day before was now just a viewing gallery. The Queens Hotel where my father and his rowdy gang had probably spent a night of high-spirited hi-jinks sat waiting for Monday thereby allowing the men of the night to recover and spend the day doing their husbandry duties. Factory’s were quiet, the woollen mills sat still and the Speed River seemed to flow a little more majestically because of the still that was in the air. Sure you could go see a movie in the evening or perhaps go see the Hespeler Mic Macs play Seaforth at the Arena but that was in the evening, this was Sunday Day. And it was for family to enjoy, no McDonald’s or Burger King for dinner, it was home cooked meals on a Sunday, Roast Beef or Pork, Mashed Potatoes and veggies and home-baked pies.
But those day’s are gone and Sunday is just another day of the week, the importance of the day long forgotten by many and unheard of by many under the age of 30. And that is why on this past Sunday i got up early and went for the same walk that my Mother used to take me over 40 years ago, i stopped and tried to hear the sounds of the past but alas they were gone, they were killed by the crashing bass of the sound system of a passing car,the sound of a work crew fixing somebody’s roof, the people yelling at each other in front of Ernie’s roadhouse, the smell of gas being pumped into somebody’s vehicle on Queen Street and the sound of the Grand River transit bus passing me by. And as i headed home i closed my eyes and envisioned a late winter day in March 1969 and it brought a moment of peace into my soul.
“On a Sunday Morning sidewalk
wishing lord I was stoned
Something in a Sunday, makes a fella feel all alone”