Rockwell Files: Sunday Morning

Dad skips out on Sunday morning Easter services.

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By his body language, it’s obvious that Dad has no good reason for not joining his family for Easter morning church service. Sunk down in his tub chair, he’s probably been holding up the sports section to avoid eye contact with his family. Now, as mom, the twins, and junior pass, Dad’s cigarette smoke rises like a whisp of guilt.

Only junior breaks ranks to regard his guilty father with an amazed look that Dad’s getting away with skipping church.

Dad’s guilt is only compounded by the fact that he’s been sitting in that chair for hours, as evidenced by the disassembly of the Sunday paper, the empty coffee cup, and a cluttered ashtray.

And if, after all this, we’re uncertain about Dad’s sabbath sloth, ­Rockwell has provided him with two devilish “horns” of hair.

It’s not clear whether Rockwell identified with this dad, but the view out that living room window in Sunday Morning is, in fact, the view from Rockwell’s studio.

Chairdevil: Dad is skipping out on Easter services in Sunday Morning, from May 16, 1959.


This article appears in the March/April 2023 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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  1. One of my personal favorites of all of Rockwell’s covers, which are over 300. It’s definitely one to study. Although the picture hasn’t changed, my own viewpoint on it has. In an earlier online feature years ago I felt (and called him) ‘Bad Dad’. That still may be, but isn’t a certainty.

    He may just be tired and exhausted from a rough week at work, with another one ahead of him and just needs a zonk-out day to himself. It’s very clear he’s not really enjoying skipping out on church and feels guilty. We can see he senses his wife’s disapproval without seeing her face here, and is waiting to hear the sound of the door shutting.

    We also don’t know if he has or hasn’t done this before, which will continue to remain a secret in 1959.


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