Rip Van Winkle

Blog 1859 – 10.26.2020

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

This One Minute Bedtime Stories version of the classic tale is a good first introduction to the story especially for children who fight sleep fearing that they might miss something. I was such a child and resisted and fought valiantly, but in the end sweetly surrendered to sleep’s loving arms.

Many have trouble getting to sleep and enjoying a good night’s rest. I think it is mostly because we have forgotten where the off button is and just cannot turn off our thinkers. Bringing work home with us is at least part of the problem. I wonder if that must be even more difficult for those whose home is their work and for those who work from home. I think it is important to keep home and work separate or to at least allow room in our lives for rest and recreation. Even during my year long war in South Vietnam, fifty years ago, we were allowed to take a week long R & R. Sadly I decided it cost too much to meet my new bride in Hawaii for a week. I often wonder if I had taken that trip to meet her in the middle if she might have been more inclined to wait for me. I did not, and she did not. It is a sad but all too common tale, and all the what if’s in the world cannot change what was, and what never was. But a good night’s sleep has a way of brightening our perspective on what life is and what it can be.

My beloved mother suffered from depression and dark thoughts most of the years that I knew her. Her last three years without my dad, she had trouble getting to sleep and sleeping through the night. I do remember my Daddy saying of my mother more than once, “If your mother did not have something to worry about, she’d be worried about that.”

My equally beloved dad was far from perfect, aren’t we all, and he did seem to value his own opinion on most things too spot on to allow room for other people’s opinions to phase him very much, but dad had a mostly positive outlook on life and he never seemed to have much trouble getting to sleep or getting the sleep he needed. Dad was only a soldier in the Army briefly after being a sailor during most all of World War Two. He put on an Army uniform to escort the bodies of slain military men home to their families after the war had ended. But my dad embodied a comment that I heard General Colin Powell once say: “A good soldier never walks when he can ride, stands when he can sit, nor sits when he can lay down.” It was his paraphrase of a Winston Churchill quote. Napping when we can, rests and recreates us, and prepares and helps us to face the battles of life with energy reserves.

That Rip Van Winkle fellow, now he was a guy who really knew how to take a nap and make some Z’s. He took the longest recorded nap ever. It is just a story, but one that may leave children and adults who are already a bit fearful wanting to keep their eyes wide open and their minds in overdrive lest they miss something by surrendering to those bedtime nightly nap urges. A good story is a good way to help us children and adults to wind down.

If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, fluff your pillow, relax, and tell yourself a bedtime story, one with a happy ending. You might just find yourself nodding off before you get to the end of the story. Remember if you are not happy, you can be certain that you are not at the end of the story yet.

Go with the flow and you do not even have to row, row, row your boat. It with you in it will just float peacefully down the stream. Sweet dreams.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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