Portrait of a Sunday

I knew I liked Johnny Cash after the first time I heard his uniquely sorrowful-yet-playful voice sing the lyrics to "Sunday Morning Coming Down:"

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.

Oh, Johnny, other than the use of illicit drugs, I couldn't agree more. Sundays seem to be the unlucky resting place for all of the frustrations, worries, and hurts that accumulate over the course of week and slide, sneaky and mean, into all hours of this 7th day. There are, of course, the practical tasks that can seem oppressive --all of those regular "life" chores, like making sure we have clean underwear and fruit in the refrigerator and that our bathroom isn't in such state that I'd refuse its use to a guest- that I usually leave for today. Then there are the special projects that I've kept a mental list of for oh, six months or so, that I keep meaning to tackle on a Sunday, like sharpen the knives, put photos in albums, and read something serious and scholarly. I know, these aren't exactly difficult things. Yet, inevitably, by 9 pm on most Sunday evenings, I am curled up on the couch, still unshowered and in stretchy pants, leafing through the newspaper weekly ads, feeling rather defeated over my bold forfeit to the day's To-Do List and vaguely apprehensive about being ready for the week ahead.
This portrait may seem a bit disturbing, but I assure you it is entirely normal behavior for me. For as long as I can remember, Sundays have meant dodging chores, feeling spitefully lazy and then remorsefully behind, and not being able to fall asleep for a torturous hour or two or more. There have been other unique characteristics through different eras, as well: as a teenager, I fought with my older sister over whose turn it was to hang up our Catholic school uniform oxford blue shirts once the dryer buzzed; in college, I occasionally drank 32 ounces of fountain diet soda to remedy a mind muddled by too much cheap wine the night before; in graduate school, I took aimless long walks around Hyde Park dreaming up great concluding lines for papers and ignoring the fact that I hadn't started them; while dating Jeff long-distance, I spent hours before sleep thinking about when, when, when we'd no longer have to do most of our talking over cell phones.
Despite this history, in my married life, sometimes Sundays emerge from this rather pitiful melancholy, out of earshot of that "lonely bell ringing" that Johnny sings about, and settle calmly, peacefully into their place at the end of a week. Today was one, and for several reasons:

A handsome young man who also happens to be an early riser made delicious pancakes.

I drank Orange Spice tea while reading a long letter sent by a far-away friend.

I suited up in mismatched outwear for a brisk walk in the freezing air. In my family, this is called "getting the stink blown off of you." In Jeff's family, it's called "getting the bads out." Either way, you're bound to smell and feel better afterward.

We watched a half-hour of Dances with Wolves while eating lunch. The movie reminds me of moving to Dallas in 1990 and having my breath knocked out of me after leaving the theater to find that it was still 100 degrees, even at night.

And of course, I communed with our kitchen. Muffins were baked:

And African Peanut Stew thrown together:

But really, what made it a stand-out Sunday was

Biscuits. Sweet Potato Biscuits, courtesy of Molly Wizenberg.

I am sure you have heard of Ms. Wizenberg, but in case you haven't, she is the woman behind the wonderful food blog, Orangette. She has a recipe index full of winners, but these biscuits are--I am telling you--su-perb. I know I've said this several times in the very, very brief history of Chef Sue Sous, but trust me on this: you need to make these biscuits.
I am not going to post the recipe, as I didn't request permission from Orangette, but you can find it here. It really isn't tricky: you do have to boil and puree a sweet potato, and work cold butter into the flour mixture, but all in all, it is satisfying work--the kind that makes you feel that gosh darn it, I did something today. And the reward is just so much tastier than a clean bathroom. Really, how important are sanitized toilets, sharp knives, and full photo albums?
When it comes down to it, biscuits, I think, are the way to beat the Sunday blues.

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