Page 106

Meads

critter and afterward sent the three of us on our way with a paper bag full of suggested reading. While recuperating, the dog snoozed on the back porch. During that period, my father also napped on the back porch, the ailing dog resting his paw on Dubby's shoulder as if the two were longtime sleeping buds. My mother noticed the shift from couch to porch and commented on it; I also noticed and reoriented my sleep watch, gazing through the screen at the two of them from a kitchen chair. Anyone trying to get in or out of the house while they snoozed had to use the front door, the back entrance blocked by dreamers. My mother complained because their obstacle threw off her ramped up/waste-no-motion timing, but I didn't mind the detour, perfectly willing to circle the house or slog a mile of ditches if need be. My daddy and my dog were sleeping. I couldn't have wished better for either. WHEN WE WERE BOTH PRE-TEENS, ON FRIDAY NIGHTS, my best friend, Shirley, often slept over at my house. We'd gab until we conked out-typically toward dawn-then make up the deficit by sleeping till noon, unaware and undisturbed by the hustle and bang of breakfast prep, morning chores, the perpetual slamming of screen doors. Around midday we'd rise, primp, chow down on cheeseburgers, bat a tennis ball back and forth, adjourn inside and resume our marathon chat, prelude to another conk out. Sheer bliss, the entire schedule. T ! lOSE OF US WHO VENTURED OFF TO SLEEP-AWAY camp in Currituck County during the 1960s boarded a borrowed church bus and made the trip to the 4-H camp in Manteo. The Head/Heart/Hands/Health enterprise, added to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension program in 19 14, championed the learn-by-doing approach and rewarded industrious farmers' kids with ribbons blue, white and red. During the school year, we 4-Hers completed and wrote up our individual projects ("cooking" deviled eggs, raising brood sows), but come the summer we gathered en masse along the shores of the C roatan Sound. Concrete defined the experience. Pathways and driveways: concrete. Sleeping quarters: concrete. On concrete, we showered. On concrete, we dined. On concrete we roughhoused, fe ll and bled. And when the wind blew through, concrete formed the base of the mini sand dunes that linked craft building to mess hall. At night we slept four to the room in two bunk beds. Through some lottery (paper/scissors/rock?) I got the top bunk and my year-older cousin, Linda, the bunk below. Thin and ripe with mildew, those seen-lots-of-kids mattresses; needle sharp, those rusty iron bedsprings. Regardless, I slept so deeply even rolling off and smack-landing on the concrete floor didn't entirely wake me. C limbing back up, I stepped, Linda says, on her hair. 104

FUGUE#3I

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho