How this Herald columnist spends his Sundays

By SCOTT SAALMAN
Guest Columnist

One reason I look forward to Sundays is the weekly New York Times feature that tells us how Gotham notables spend their waking hours on a typical Sunday. The recounting of their daily minutia is interesting. Since NYT will not be seeking my Sunday lifestyle, I’ll share details with The Herald faithful.  

A lazy start
One thing I’ve noticed in the NYT pieces is that the subjects often wake up way too early. The best Sundays are void of anything resembling an alarm clock or a sunrise. So much for early Mass — or late Mass for that matter. This former altar boy, who caught more than his fair share of errant wafers with his trusty spit-speckled Communion plate expertly placed just below the jawline, did his church time a long time ago. Once awake, but still under covers, I like listening to something laid back like Gregg Allman’s 1973 solo debut, “Laid Back,” which is a record meant for Sunday ears. Near the 36-minute mark, as “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” closes out, I experience all the religion I really need. How I love Pajama Church.

Feline famine
The god-awful, heart-melting mewing outside the bedroom door triggers an early rise to feed the cats, who, unseen, sound so pathetic and endangered that I’m convinced they haven’t been fed in weeks. Only when I open the door and follow the fat black cat, Coppola, down the hallway and witness his pendulous belly swing (Brynne calls it his “swinger”) left to right, right to left (he actually sweeps my floor), do I realize I have once again been duped. My cats are clearly well fed. Still, as expected, I fill their food bowls with the hard stuff and give them a gooey-centered twice-a-day treat for good measure. I start Mr. Coffee and return to bed for a few more minutes — longer if sleep demands.

Breakfast 
Brynne and I like making big breakfasts, but we are just as likely to go to Azura for bagels. I must pause here to celebrate Dr. Richard Moss, father of the Dubois County bagel, who brought genuine bagel production to Jasper from his beloved hometown, NYC, when he opened Bronx Bagel in 1998, freeing Dubois Countians from the phony supermarket bagels bounded by paper bag. Though I’m not a New Yorker, I can still appreciate where writer Calvin Trillin is coming from when he wrote, “New Yorkers have always talked about picking up freshly baked bagels late at night and being reassured, as they felt the warmth coming through the brown paper bag, that they would be at peace with the world the next morning, at least through breakfast.” In 2004, Nick and Angie Hostetter purchased Bronx Bagel, renamed it Azura, and elongated my love affair with a chocolate chip bagel and chocolate chip cream cheese—or dare I mention the Holy Grail of bagel treats, the sausage, egg and cheese on “cranapple” bagel (the best sandwich in town). We share a crossword puzzle over breakfast. Brynne does the ups; I do the downs. Then, a stop by Brew for real coffee. Luckily, Midwest Café and Market is closed on Sunday or we’d be forced to make a third stop, this time for the best muffins in town.

CBS Sunday Morning
Ideally, we like to be awake by 9 (a.m.!) to hear the opening trumpet of CBS Sunday Morning. Kudos to CBS for putting Jane Pauley on the host’s perch. We stick with fellow-Hoosier Jane to the very end, anxiously awaiting the grand finale, aka the stalwart nature segment, though nowadays, sadly, the nature segment barely lasts longer than a frog’s croak (I think the clipped nature clip is what really triggered global warming). By the end of an episode, I feel healthier somehow. That’s because every commercial is aimed at the failing health of aging Boomers who don’t mind the medicinal magic tradeoff of biblical bouts of diarrhea. So far, I haven’t needed any of the drugs advertised. The TV immediately shuts off after the nature segment, for neither of us is ready to face the nation.

The Barklands 
If the weather is nice, we’ll walk the Parklands of Jasper, perhaps the best thing that ever resulted from the sport of golf. After the country club closed, the city redesigned the property to be an urban epicenter of nature, welcoming all residents to experience a good walk unspoiled while enjoying its lakes, bridges, paths, foliage and fauna. We dog watch there, all those family hounds on leashes, while lazing on a Sunday afternoon.

The farewell 
Currently, Brynne and I are in a long-distance marriage. Usually, we depart mid-afternoon. Driving home allows me to catch up on favorite podcasts: WTF with Marc Maron; Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend; Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast; and Unspooled (a weekly master class, minus the pretentiousness, on AFI’s top 100 movies). Or, I’ll get all folk-bluesy with the tunes of Jake Xerxes Fussell, my favorite new find. Last Sunday, after I left, Brynne joined a goat yoga class, during which baby goats walk about the yoga mats and sometimes climb onto the backs of those in a downward-facing dog pose. How can anyone relax around creatures with cloven hooves? Homeward bound, it behooves me to accept Sunday’s end, knowing it’s almost time, again, to face the nation.

Contact Scott Saalman at scottsaalman@gmail.com




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