Farm Life - Bedtime and Blanket Wars

Growing up on the farm, there was always a lot of activity every day. You would think it would tire a bunch of energetic kids out and they would just flop into bed with no problems. Not so at our house.

To this day we remember bedtime. Bedtime for us was fun time. It was a time of pony-back rides by daddy. Daddy would get on all fours and we would jump on his back. He would then make pony noises from the living room to the bedroom and have us jump into bed. When daddy would drop one of us off and go back to get another child, the kids in bed would jump out of bed and run back to the living room to get another ride. There were three of us all each a year apart in age and we were under the age of five. Daddy would smile and act as though it was our first time for a ride.

After about a half hour of this frivolity, we would be told that it was the end of the pony-back rides and time for prayers. We would line up on the side of one of the beds all in a row, on our knees, hands folded and say our evening prayers and then thank God for all our blessings and for each other and all the rest of the family and friends. Then it was snug into bed with warm covers drawn over us, lights out, and and mama and daddy closing the door behind them. We knew they went out to watch those television programs that were too adult for us to watch like "Gunsmoke" and "I Love Lucy" and "The Dean Martin Show."

As we laid in the dark, we could hear the quiet hum of that old black and white television from the living room. My sister and I were almost a year apart in age, so we shared a double or full-size bed. We had plenty of room but there always seemed to be a bit of a problem as to who had more blanket and who had less. Many nights, my sister, who was a year younger than me but stronger than me, would fold her side of the blanket under her body and begin to roll up in the blanket until I had no blanket on my side of the bed. Now I would be freezing and she would be snickering at me because I could not get a portion of the blanket for myself.

Well if she thought she was going to win that blanket, she had another thing coming. That is when I would start poking and tickling her to get her to lose her grip. At first she would be staunch and then slowly but surely she would start to say "stop it," while giggling quietly. She then would try to grab more of the blanket back that I had retrieved. If she would have her arms loose, she would begin to scratch me and I would punch her and then she would punch me and then I would punch her and then we would pinch each other and slap each other. Before we knew it, there would be a full-blown brawl going on and the covers were off to the side. After all, who needed covers when you were into a full-fledged fist, slap, pinch, fight. There was also pulling of hair with loud cries of "Ouch" and "Stop It" and many other bad things spoken.

SUDDENLY, there would be a fist pounding on the bedroom door. It was that fun-loving gentle daddy that had just given us pony-back rides and said prayers with us. The gruff voice would bark out very loudly "BE QUIET AND GO TO SLEEP OR I'M GOING TO COME IN THERE." We knew what that meant. If daddy had to come into our room, it would not be a wasted trip. He would bring the plastic fly swatter with him. It never left a mark but boy did it sting. Well we would settle down for a bit and then it would start all over again - kind of like the shampoo bottle instructions of wash, rinse, and repeat. Only this was like settle down, fight, and repeat! After two or three times of this, daddy would come into the room. The door would swing open. The lights would flip on brightly and spankings would be administered to our bared butts. Ouch that hurt. Then and only then would we settle down and go to sleep for real.

Now many years later, while recalling this story with my sister, she told me the reason she started the fights most of the time. It turns out that daddy and mama many times could not get us to stop fighting even after the spanking. That is when daddy would scoop her out of the bed and let her fall asleep in their bed while my parents watched television in the living room. She told me she loved it when daddy picked her up and carried her to our room after he thought she had fallen asleep. While we had times of pony-back rides and hugs, we still grew up in a staunch German home and my parents were very careful not to show a lot of affection because it could be considered inappropriate. You may say that they went out of their way to be careful about affection. All in all the mind of a child sure is different from an adults point of view and those nights of fighting hold a dear place in my heart as well as my sister's heart.

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