There’s something about Sunday like no other day.
My family has always had a Sunday ritual. For as long as I can remember on Sundays at the farm we went to Nanna’s House for morning tea (she lived with Pop by the way, but whenever we went there it was “going to Nanna’s House”, and Pop was always there!). It was at 9.30am and being late was not an option, or if you were late you got discussed quite a lot before your arrival. My Mum is notoriously a late person, and trying to get ready to go to morning tea on Sunday’s at her Mother in Laws house was probably not the most motivating reason to be on time (no offence but I do know if Jehovah came for morning tea she would’ve been on time, but Nanna in those days was not reason enough, even though potentially she wielded the power of God).
Nanna always made pikelets deep fried in lard or butter, and they were all fatty and crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I have never had pikelets like hers’ anywhere else. She made them from scratch, without measuring. She also went through a stage of making sardine and cheese triangle toasted sandwiches especially for our share farmers (one of whom couldn’t stand sardines, but was far too nice to say no, and ate them every week to keep Nanna happy). There was always so much food and as teenager I often chose not to eat breakfast first so I could manage to put away enough pikelets to stop Nanna saying “oh have another one, you’re too skinny, and they’ll just go to waste (sigh), I did make them especially for you”. She’d say this to everyone at some point during the morning, so it was best just to eat continually to save to guilt trip (just as our long-suffering share farmer worked out as well).
*side note: share farmers are people who farm your land for you and pay you a percentage of the crop (there are varying arrangements but this is ours most simply). We do have a special relationship with our share farmers (and yes I know it sounds like they somehow belong to us, and given what follows this, they probably do, but they are actually by now like part of our family). I can write another post on this one day, but just take note that share farmers are not exempt from the morning tea ritual whilst they are on the farm, even if they are not blood relatives and have busy farm things to do. Share farmers wives and children are also not exempt. Nanna would just make more toasties.
Over pikelets we would discuss farmy things – related to the season or the weather or the current task at hand – the neighbours and people in the local community (you know those long winded conversations that go like “Well she married Harry’s brother, but I saw her sister the other day and she used to go to school with you your brother. Do you remember her? She had red hair, and a couple of kids to that bloke who used to do the mill run before he started the harvesting contracting business? No, not the first one we had here, but the one who started after Dad broke his leg in the Ram paddock and couldn’t climb the mills anymore…)), relatives who lived far away and mostly our Nanna would talk about which ever one of us four kids wasn’t there (which more often than not would by my brother and she’d lament that he wasn’t there, and what a shame it was because he was the heir to the farm, and it was so sad that he didn’t feel he could come back, by which point someone else would get cross or hurriedly change the subject before she really got going).
*side note 2: my brother never wanted to be a farmer, and was really happy about that.
An hour was minimum, 11am the most common ‘polite’ time to leave. Before 10.30am would just be rude. And it happened every Sunday, without fail, until they left the farm when Pop was 90.
When they were gone, we did half heartedly keep the ritual going, but then we started a farm tourism business and there were so many farm-style morning teas (with muffins, not pikelets because I found them easier) that if at all possible missing one on Sunday was a bonus.
The good news though is that the ritual has been reincarnated by our parents. It’s actually scheduled around our Mum’s Jehovah Witness meetings, so it’s regular and timely and she’s most often on time. Dad comes down after and meets her at either my house or my sisters (alternating Sunday’s if possible). Dad often brings sugar free, lupin flour, sultana cake and/or kangaroos rissoles and we make sugar-filled other treaties which he eats but tries to make out he’s not enjoying, whilst commenting on how many Mum has had.
Today I made pikelets, not like my Nanna’s but pretty good all the same. We talk about farmy stuff – like the season or the the weather, the share farmers, the neighbours or locals from the small town where Mum and Dad live, and mostly about which sibling and or grandchild is not with us. We lament….no we don’t, but if my sister tries I clutch her arm and call her Nanna. Sometimes if we’re away or busy they don’t come, and generally that is cool, as long as it doesn’t go for more than about 3 weeks or I think they start to feel neglected. And we miss them, my sister and I (clutching, lamenting)
In our childhood family we don’t do Christmas, we don’t do birthdays or Easter or big family BBQs. But we do do the Sunday Session. And it makes Sunday like no other day.