It was some Saturday in 1968. I'm certain it was Saturday because Dad was at home and we were not getting ready for church, which would have marked the day as a Sunday. Saturday, then.
Dad moved our little black and white television out of the den to make room for the brand new COLOR TELEVISION! It was a large piece of furniture, a dark walnut covered box that was so heavy and bulky that it required the help of the neighbor, Mr. Batt, to muscle it out of the back of the station wagon and up the porch steps into the den.
Dad muttered as he plugged it in, attached it to the antenna on the roof with small wires and screws. We even had an extra set of "rabbit ears" that could go on top of the television if necessary. Now, the final adjustments with the mysterious knobs. Because the knobs were on the back of the television, Dad relied on us kids to sit in front of the screen and shout out if the picture was better or worse with his adjustments.
Since we were all under 8 years old, we were not the most helpful assistants. Enthusiastic, yes. Helpful? Not so much. We did not have a clear idea that there was some kind of color television perfection (already established out there by someone) we were trying to achieve. We liked it when the picture squeezed in at the sides like an hourglass. Or when the contrast was so high that everything looked other-worldly.
Dad had to walk in front of the screen several times to see for himself if the picture was better or worse from his ministrations. The vertical knob made the picture stop flipping. Contrast helped us see things out of the colored fog on the screen. Finally, the color knob. If not adjusted right, faces were green instead of flesh. And landscapes were red. Color was always the hardest adjustment because Dad is color blind and we kids liked seeing Captain Kirk with a violet face. Mom was called in to be the color judge. She always knows the direction of the perfection standard.
As I painted this color sketch, I thought back to that day, that Saturday in 1968, when my family got our first color television set. And I smiled.