An Aussie Sunday

As the Sunday morning sun begins to glow on Australia from Hobart to Rockhampton and stretching as far west as Perth, Australian, Chinese, New Zealanders and a whole array of nationalities that call Australia home are starting the lazy Sunday which is a ritual known to all Australians and those lucky few who have visited Australia and taken part in a lazy Sunday.

As the sun rises you will find many taking to the streets in all different directions on a casual stroll. A man in his thirties comes face to face with a complete stranger and says “Good morning, mate” In which the stranger replies, “mate it’s a lovely day.” Both continue on their journey knowing that they will greet the next person who comes their way as warm and friendly. As often is the case they are people they have never seen before and likely never to meet again.

On the other side of town sits a quiet seaside village with the locally owned fish and chip shop on your right as you enter while to your left more people are starting their Sunday off in a different kind of way by strolling through the Sunday Markets that have been set up to bring the community together and to land that one in a million bargain that everyone is always looking for in life, or perhaps just to get that one of a kind piece of local art. You can find anything you desire in the markets from home made furniture, clothes, fresh fruit and vegetables to jewelry and to pre-owned books. One never goes home without a purchase.

As I stroll through the endless stores I can hear parts of a conversation on how one made that rocking chair so smooth and perfect. How once her grandfather had purchased the book for her as a small child only now having to sell it so she can keep her head above water and continue to live her final years without a struggle. As the young man listens to her continuing her story, he is captivated by what her life has been like so much that at the end of the conversation he turns to the old lady and gives her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and says, “I wish you all the happiness in your life.” And slipped her a twenty dollar bill. As an act of kindness and as well as helping the older generation survive a bit longer.

Just five minutes down the road you will find many adults, children, friends and lovers of different race, color and ages taking part in quality time with the ones that are closest to them. While enjoying one of the many great parks lined with gum trees and other natives of Australia. This also spread from east to west and north to south across Australia. We kick off our Sunday by lying in the grass while taking in the sun and improving on that tan. While others relax with a paperback book. Then there are those who choose a more serious approach to reading the Sunday paper who are mainly the businessman or woman and the older generation who have come to find it’s still the best way to get the news.

After some time spent in the park you are bound to come into a conversation or debate on past, present and future news stories that are not only affecting the local community but state, national and overseas topics. Anything from the weather, people’s grandchildren, Australian politics and war.

“I heard that the government is increasing taxes again,” says a young lady from a group of women that sat down to enjoy the sun while catching up with each other over a cup of coffee. After the comment was raised there is some that curse when they hear this. Others take it as a sign that life is going to become increasingly harder on them and their families not to mention the mortgage hanging over their heads. While others swallow it and continue like nothing has been said.

As the morning begins to become the afternoon the temperature rises and people everywhere scramble to find that one place out of the sun and hide in the shade. While people outside scramble to find shade there are people in homes across Australia preparing for their Sunday afternoon Rugby League football (Rugby League Football is the icon of Australian sport) game on television which starts at four pm and continues for two hours with both pre match and post match talks with the coach and captains of each side, and also includes the toss of the coin.

As you hear the siren that starts the game, people watch the television and those lucky ten thousand who have managed to get into the stadium, where the game is being played. The spectators get to their feet and cheer on their team as the first hard crunching tackle is made. Team flags are blowing in the wind; screams are made for players on both sides while at home there is tension in the air if you and your family members or mates are on opposing sides.

Not for too long the game is bound to end up in argument as one of the teams starts to run free of the other. “Forward pass.” A twenty something year old football fan screams at the television standing up for his side. “Ah you wish mate that was a brilliant pass. You’re just jealous that your side can’t to that.” His mate says in a way of replying to the comment that was directed to the referee on the screen. His mate curses his mate in good humor. This is bound to continue until the final siren is sounded eighty minutes later and the friends put aside their differences until their teams once again go head to head.

As the sun starts to fade into night, so the moon can make its first appearance of the night. Australians are planning on continuing the meaning of a lazy Sunday by the choice of food they will eat that night. The younger generation prefers to go and get takeaway, which they say is “The easy no fuss way to handle a hungry stomach.” While you will find the older and much wiser generation finishing their lazy Sunday by making a traditional Sunday roast that they were brought up with, gathering loved ones to talk of the past events that have happened in the last week since the last family meal.

While they peel, chop and slice, they are telling grandchildren of the way and life back then at their age and what a big change it has been from then to now in all aspects of life. From horse and carriage for transport to the swift new cars that get around in this era. One small granddaughter laughs at what her grandmother had spoken of. Thinking of how we would cope in today’s time with a horse and carriage for getting from a to b.

Finally Australians face the end of the lazy Sunday for another week. Everyone who has taken part in this Sunday ritual sleeps silently and peaceful until the sun starts to peak over the mountains officially ending Sunday. Australians wake to find that they are looking forward with excitement and loads of energy for the very next Sunday to arrive so they can embrace and enjoy the sunshine and reflect on what just a lucky country we live in. We call Australia home.

November 22nd, 2004 by