The Night Before Clean Sheets

I like going into my infrared sauna to sweat it out.  It helps with stress reduction. My regimen is to bake at 140 degrees for 50 minutes. It gets the toxins out. Ideally, it is best to come back to temperature naturally. Because I like to sauna later in the evening, I cannot come back to temperature, take a shower, and get to bed at 9:45.  Heavens, I stay up past my bedtime! The best night for me is the night before clean sheets.

Usually Sunday. Some deviation for unexpected dirtiness.  I go from the sauna to my bed all sweaty and gross.  I sleep like a baby. Stevie Nicks, the black lab puppy, jumps into bed with me and we snuggle. She doesn’t mind sweaty and gross.

Stevie Nicks

Not every day can be the night before clean sheets… because that would make you a slob.  The next morning, you rip off the dirty sheets upon waking so that you are not tempted to go one more day. In a perfect world, the fresh sheets go on right away- but sometimes life happens- and you forget and walk into your bedroom late that night to a bed with no sheets! Dammit.

A decision must be made- put on clean sheets, sleep in the guest room, or have no sheets and just roll up in the comforter.  I have done all three. I never sleep well in the guest room, or with no sheets- wrapped up in the comforter. Take the time to put them on and sleep well. Mom always said, “You sleep better with clean sheets.” She was right.

My mom, Betty, was a true believer. She believed in God, and she lived her life pretty much according to the rules of the Catholic church. Betty believed in the Church, but she was an avid reader and I think she loved books almost as much as she loved God. Betty used to say, “If you want to read a juicy story- read the Bible!”

She read everything and she allowed her children to read everything. No censorship. Thank you, Mom!

I remember when the middle school morality police confiscated my copy of Judy Blume’s Wifey. I had purchased the book on my own, with my own money, and without the consent of Betty. Truth be told, the content was a bit too adult. I was hoping for another Forever. I love Judy Blume and have watched her class on Masterclass several times. She is a treasure. Anyway….  I was not punished for buying that book.

Mom had the theory that if I was brave enough to walk into a bookstore and buy a book with my own money- I could handle the story. Amen.

Christmas Eve we always went to Mass. Front pew. Everyone knows the story… there was a census and Joseph took his pregnant virgin bride Mary to sign up and she went into labor and there was no room in the Inn. Jesus was born in a manger, was greeted by wisemen, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It’s a lot to digest in one sitting. It takes about 50 years to fully understand the beauty of unconditional love.

Betty had a portrait of Jesus above her bed. It was the one where Jesus looks kind and has a lovely tan. He has long brown hair. brown eyes and is bathed in beautiful light rays. Very attractive. To this day, I am a sucker for a brown haired, brown eyed man.  On a trip to Seattle, WA in 1976 we visited my Aunt Virginia and her family. My cousin Kevin looked just like Jesus! We thought he was “hot” and to show our love we filled his shoes with pinecones.

Hot cousin Kevin is on the far right.

I think that when they used to say we should love Jesus, they didn’t mean we should LOVE Jesus!

Jesus isn’t the only hot guy with brown hair and brown eyes from my childhood. My best friend, Elaine, is 100% Greek with brown hair and brown eyes. Now, I love Elaine dearly and she is a very attractive woman… but her brother John… he was a gorgeous creature. Tall, dark, and handsome. He was also as lovely on the inside as the outside.  He went to Heaven way to soon and left a void. He is one of my angels. My warrior angel. He gives me strength.

My father was a difficult man. He was highly intelligent, opinionated, and raised by an overbearing mother. His father died when he was 8 years old.  I am his youngest daughter- the last hope for a boy.

For the first 10 years of my life, I was his little buddy.  We went hunting and fishing. We went to the bookstore. I remember those years fondly. My parents were old to be having me- Dad turned 50 the year I was born. So, if you do the math… he retired when I was in middle school. Mom and Dad would go off fishing and leave me alone. Mom would leave me five bucks and a note saying, “Take Elaine to The Hut for dinner. Back at 8pm. Love, Mom. XO

Betty and GK were both avid outdoors people.

That’s what we did. We did more than just go to The Hut. We ran wild and did mostly what we pleased. I think that turned us into some interesting and independent girls.

Jilly and Elaine at the park 1974

Trouble is…. Sometimes Dad’s don’t want their teenage daughters to be interesting and independent. We had some issues. Issues related to self-esteem, commitment, and how to disagree without starting WWIII (aka effective communication). Control.

I am the angry looking teenager at the bottom of the screen. I also look wasted, but I am fairly certain I was sober.

I’ve been a harsh critic. I’m softening up a bit as the years go by- mostly because I have turned out to be my father’s daughter. I have crashed and burned and made many of the same mistakes.

I sometimes run into people who still remember Dad fondly.  It reminds me that being a father is only one aspect of a person.

He was a good friend. He loved the outdoors. He loved to read. He was a life-long learner and intellectual person. He was fair.

I recall an occasion when one of my sisters was being treated unfairly by a teacher. Dad went to school – meeting with the principal and teacher. He applied his critical thinking and stood up for my sister. Problem resolved. We celebrated the victory at home, and I clearly remember us all being ecstatic. Dad showed up and made mincemeat out of the competition. He may not have been 100% involved 100% of the time, but he was 100% that day.

He was not one for a lot of praise or demonstrative with affection.  

For some strange reason- I despised peeling oranges. Every winter we would get a couple of boxes of citrus from Texas. Oranges, grapefruit… stored on the basement stairs. Probably purchased as part of one of the endless fundraisers for band or choir. Dad would tell me to go get an orange.  I would watch as he would carefully peel the orange, making sure to get all the bitter pith off. He was very good at peeling oranges. He had very long fingers and kept good care of his fingernails. I remember this clearly… I can see him peeling the orange.

I realize now, peeling that orange was an act of love. He couldn’t say it, but he could peel me an orange.

Usually, Elaine was with me- and he would peel for us both. Dad was particularly fond of Elaine. She called him Mr. A. I have very specific memories of the three of us practicing math and vocabulary flash cards. We were competitive- but in a good way. It’s good to be smart. Thank you, Mom and Dad for not raising dodo birds.

I believe in the magic of Christmas.

Where am I going with this?? I have no idea.

I think that this year has been a trying year. There is so much information to digest. So many opinions, so many decisions to make, so many expectations. It’s overwhelming.

My hope is that on Christmas Eve you can remember the good times, acknowledge the bad times, learn from mistakes, forgive yourself and others, and understand that we are all human. We can agree to disagree. Peel an orange for someone you love. When in doubt, put on clean sheets. You sleep better with clean sheets.

GGJ

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gypsygirljilly

I write stories about my life.

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