Another Day in the Country
A new day begins
© Another Day in the Country
The sun streams through the bedroom windows. It is my favorite kind of alarm clock, announcing the beginning of a new day.
I’d been dreaming that I was attending some kind of convention and I spied a schoolmate, Danny, older brother of my best friend at our church. He was walking at his usual quick clip and I strode along with him, so pleased to see him again. Apparently he was heading toward the restroom, stepped inside and we continued chatting as I stood in the open door.
My daughter came by and said, “Mother, what on earth are you doing?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” I said breezily, “I’m just talking to Danny, an old friend of mine from high school.”
Abruptly, I woke up.
In real life, I was probably awakened by either the sun coming through the windows or the cat landing four-footed on top of the duvet down by my feet. She knows better than to come up on the bed where I can reach her because she’ll be summarily put off! She’s a sneaky one, that cat.
Now I’m awake, remembering the people I’d seen in my dream. The only one I’d talked to was Danny.
“I wonder if he’s still alive?” I mused to myself.
That’s a first thought that comes to mind, at my age, when recalling long, lost friends. I was being realistic.
The unrealistic side of me often has this feeling when someone from the distant past inhabits a dream, that perhaps something is happening to them. Maybe they’ve even just died and this dream was their way of communicating — saying “Goodbye.”
“How could I find out?” I wondered. “Whom do we know in common? Anyone?”
When my parents moved from pastoring a church in Kansas City, Kansas, to a parish in Greeley, Colorado, they decided that I would be attending high school at a Christian boarding academy in Loveland, Colorado. I had just turned 15, tall, gangly, and shy, and didn’t really know a soul.
My mother had chosen a roommate for me — the daughter of a friend of theirs whom I had seen on a couple of occasions. Janet was younger, a freshman, not even 14 as yet. I would be in the year ahead of her, a sophomore.
That’s quite a growing up experience, being thrust into a new and strange environment — away from home for the very first time. There were a lot of new rules but I was pretty good at following rules. There were certain sidewalks for girls to walk on — back and forth from classes, to and from chapel and the cafeteria.
We all worked at some job on campus. We did our own laundry and cleaned our own rooms. We were responsible for ourselves. We could go home once every six weeks for a weekend.
Home was only 30 miles away, but it seemed like hundreds of miles away. It could have been a continent away, for that matter, it seemed so unreachable. And really, “home” was back in Kansas and not in Colorado at all!
One of the new friends I made that first year was a girl in my grade who also came from Greeley. Her name was Florence. She had long straight black hair, wore high heels to church that were called “Baby Dolls” because of the round snubbed toe — very fashionable. She had younger siblings but it was her older brother, Danny, who became important to us very quickly because being a couple of years older he not only had a driver’s license, but a car!
If we wanted to go somewhere, Danny often could be pressed into service, when our parents weren’t available — and mine rarely were!
Danny would take us to the county fair. Danny would pick me up and take me out to their farm for Sabbath dinner or during the weeks of what seemed like a long summer he’d saddle the horses for us to go riding. He was a good, kind, steady, older brother.
After graduation, I went off to Nebraska for college. Florence got married. We lost contact. My parents no longer lived and worked in Greeley. Life moved on.
I finished my secretarial degree, got married, got a job, and worked to put my husband through the rest of his education.
One day I heard the tragic news that Florence had been killed in a car accident. It was my first wake-up call in a life just beginning.
“Be grateful for every year of life that you have,” was the message.
I’ve seen Danny a couple of times through the years. The last time was in 2015 when I attended a school alumni weekend.
He said he comes through Kansas in the summer, going on motorcycle trips with his son on their way to Nebraska.
I said “The freeway is not far from Ramona.”
Haven’t seen him, until my dream.
So here we are in May 2021, still very grateful, and I’m getting graduation announcements from some of the children I used to have in fifth grade elementary art classes. Time flies.
“I wonder if the academy has an alumni office?” I say to myself.
It’s another day in the country and I need to check on Danny!