The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 2 (May 1, 1936)
The Soul Of Saturday
A Symbol for Salubrity.
Could we all but recover the soul of Saturday the world might wag instead of wobble.
But man, in the main, gropes in irksome excavations of Expediency, dug with his own fingernails—wells of necessity, badly bored and boresome. He sacrifices colour for collar, wisdom for whiskers, freedom for fret, comfort for cash, ingenuousness for ingeniousness and simplicity for complicity. He is hopelessly grown-up, an incorrigible adult, a moribund machinator with miserly Molloch, and a pitiful plaintiff in the courts of Common Sense, suing for the things he has tossed to the tumbrels and wondering why he loses the case and bears the costs. Because he has sacrificed the soul of Saturday and exchanged Simplicity for Duplicity he is of the lost legion. For the soul of Saturday is the soul of Youth and the charge to be answered by us mendacious meddlers in the schemes and schisms of the Wider Wisdom follows the fact that Youth never dies unless it is murdered.
So, we who moan and mumble that gone is the light from life, the gilt from Glamour, the “rococo” from Romance, and the soul from Saturday, are mental gangsters who have taken Youth “for a ride” and put it “on the spot.”
If, in spite of the exigencies of the interior and exterior, we can keep our souls up while we keep our noses down, there is hope while we grope, and we may regain that subtle something which, in our youth, was the soul of Saturday and the epitomisation of elation.
For this soul of Saturday is but a symbol for sentient salubrity.
Unless we have become atrophied in the “attic” and petrified in the perceptions, we surely can resurrect the emotions which, when life was young and our future was before us instead of behind us, lifted us from the moraine of mathematics and the antics of Algebra and transported us to the bonny braes of Saturday, where the sweet fresh breeze of Freedom blew the dry dust of durance out of the chinks in our brain.
Don't you remember Saturday? Why, even Friday was warmed by the anticipatory efflatus of Saturday. Even dull Duty, with pen poised over facts and figures in the Book of Scholastic Skill and Nutrient Knowledge, smiled wanly on youth, toiling to acquire they knew not what, for what they knew not.
Friday was almost as admirable as Saturday because, “if Friday comes ‘twill soon be Saturday.”
Some of us adulterated adults must still be capable of capturing a faint reflection of those fibulous Fridays. Even yet—
There's “something” in the ambient air of Friday,
A something subtly soothing—bona fide,
For Friday is the worn week's latter-day,
And almost hand-in-hand with Saturday.
On Friday comes the maid Ann Ticipation
To woo the mind with hints of relaxation,
And Striving needs must vie with puckish Play,
When Friday comes to herald Saturday.
That's if the soul's not dead but only slumbers,
And life is something more than sums and numbers.
The gardener turns his thoughts to planting “caulis,”
Forgetting for the nonce man's fettered follies,
And finding freedom from the toils of Toil,
In contemplation of the simple soil.
The golfer dreams of niblick and of “putt,”
And wonders why his mashie shots go “phut.”
So Friday, on a proper estimation,
Is brightened by such thoughts of relaxation,
Until, in fact, ‘tis almost true to say,
That out of both emerges “Fritter-day.”
But Saturday always remains—just Saturday.
When we were young the early air was different on Saturday. The gooseberry bushes, the cat, the back fence and the wood-pile somehow looked different. It seemed that, although our eyes were unchanged, the mind behind had been burnished bright overnight. Perhaps that sixth sense of Freedom produced a clearness of vision unblurred by chalk, chanting and chewing-gum. For on Saturday there was no clanging summons to the altar of Erudition; no cheerless champing over the Kings of England, no Battle of Hastings—ten-sixty-six, no recitations to mumble, no dates to jumble, no vulgar fractions and frictions, no stink of ink, no mental mumbo-jumbo to justify the idiot actions of hypothetical merchants who bought and sold in a frenzy of fallacious finance.
Instead, there loomed ahead a fine unfettered fillet of freedom, from daylight to dark, to be lived and loved and squeezed dry of the juice of joy; an unalloyed, untramelled, unchallenged slice of Time's terrain.
Our bare toes fondled the warm asphalt, or the wet grass caressed our ankles; the wind whipped us, the sun blistered us, and even the rain failed to quench the light that burned within us, on Saturday. Flying footballs, supplementary sodfights, action, reaction, but never inaction—such was Saturday. Grime and glow and, above all, release from the dour dictates of “hire civilisation.” That was Saturday. Saturday is the only day with a soul. Other days have characteristics.
Weak Days and Others.
Monday is mourn-day, a durational requiem for dead joys—a time of pondering on the “white man's burden.” Not a cheery day!
Tuesday confirms the sentiments of Monday but offers a little consolation in the fact that Monday is over until next Monday.
Thursday produces mixed emotions. Thought for the day “Will the weekend be fine?” Watchword, “Hope.”
Friday (see alleged verse above).
Saturday: Ask yourself!
Sunday is all things to all men: a day of meditation or mending, rest or zest. Valued mainly by some for beakfast in bed. Slogan: “Think not of the morrow.”
Horrors of Civilisation.
Such horrors of civilisation will disappear when we exchange whizz-dom for wisdom and can conceive that man's tale is not told in toil alone; that leisure and pleasure can be as profitable to Progress as pressure.
An army moves on its stomach, but mankind moves on its mind. The Chinese philosopher knew more than his laundry who advised “Tread softly and go far.”
One day men will be so enlightened that leisure will be deemed as valuable to human progress as the panting pursuit of pelf, and then the soul of Saturday will be the soul of everyday. Until then let's pretend—
That every day is Saturday,
And we damp dobs of human clay
Are free to be what, you'll agree,
If things were right, we ought to be.
At any rate we're free to play
That every day is Saturday.
“Wild Oats,” the attractive title of a book by Eric Muspratt, is good reading. Among his adventures was a trip round the Horn, before the mast, in one of the old “windjammers.” Half way Home the ship ran out of tobacco —and consternation reigned in the fo'-castle. One day the bosun, rummaging in his old sea chest, found a long-forgotten packet of cigarettes and offered them to his shipmates at six-pence each! They were snapped up before you could say “wink!” Another time (when ashore) Eric had to go without tobacco for several weeks. Picture his joy when he had his first smoke after that! Stay-at-homes who have never had to go without tobacco for a single day don't realise their luck! Here in N.Z. you can get the finest tobacco manufactured—Cut Plug No. 10 (Bullshead), Navy Cut No. 3 (Bulldog), Cavendish, Riverhead Gold and Desert Gold, at the nearest tobacconist's shop, and they're not only famed for flavour and aroma, but practically free from nicotine because they're toasted. There's enjoyment in every whiff!*page 24