SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY that a Friday Weekend section appeared in The Washington Post for the first time -- a modest, 36-page, single-color digest of Things to Do on a crisp Washington weekend, plus some closer looks at the people, places and particulars of this city's week-to-week pursuit of a good time.
But it wasn't yesterday, it was September 30, 1977.
Time sure does fly when you're having fun. Good thing some of us were taking notes.
In the decade since its birth, Weekend has, like this city's menu of Things to Do, developed a comforting heft. We've tried to stay atop the expanding variety of entertainment and activities, survived a coupla three colloquialisms and a few six-digit phone numbers, served up countless fish reports and ski issues and festival roundups and movie mini- reviews and pick-your-own-peaches places, and fielded about a million phone calls from people to whom it seems like only yesterday that we published that article about historic houses you could rent for a wedding.
Well, that wasn't yesterday, either. It was June 24, 1982, and it was in another section of the paper entirely, and it won't help to know which one because the list is mostly outdated.
This is a newspaper, after all. Good or bad, news goes stale fast.
This was our 10th anniversary, though, and some of us had a little discussion about that. (First we talked about having a party, but no one knew any good places to rent.) We talked about how, over this last decade, just about everything that Weekend has analyzed, organized and capsulized for culture mavens, film buffs, art students, megaparents, theatergoers and fast-lane funseekers of every stripe has become dated quicker than you can wrap a mackerel in the movie listings.
We thought we'd do something different. We wanted to publish a guide to fun -- entertainment, art, nightlife, recreation, family activities, the stuff we do to soothe and level our so-serious souls -- and make it useful enough that you'd keep it around for a while. On top of the fridge, maybe. Or in the hatchback next to the collector's edition of the 1975 Rand McNally Road Atlas. Or in the drawer with the petrified masking tape and carry-out chopsticks. Someplace special, in other words.
Weekend's 10th-anniversary "Guide to a Good Time," in other words.
If your mackerel can stand a better grade of paper, wait till Sunday to wrap it, and meantime save this Guide for bigger fish -- your family, maybe, next time they show up unannounced and you need quick tourist-in-your-own-town advice and phone numbers. (Or you need an escape route while they're visiting.) Or you're stuck at home with nothing to do. Or you have to find a last-minute ticket to a Kennedy Center concert, or the phone number of the box office at the Warner Theater or Capital Centre, or the booking bent of the Birchmere, or a place where the two of you can dance without risking deafness.
You will also find here a sampling of Weekend's favorite weekend-getaway destinations; guides to dance companies we've seen and art galleries we've visited; and a lo-o-o-ong (but, of course, still partial) listing of museums around town, from the mighty to the memorably minuscule. Plus favorite places to go and activities to try with the kids; perfectly good parks; better bike-riding; party-giving advice; and a look at moviehouses worth seeing for more than the sticky floors and the latest McMovie.
We do it all for you here in the Weekend section. We may even do it again, this Good Time Guide, same time next year.
There are worse jobs.