Janet Sheridan: Wishes and daydreams
As the fourth-grade youngsters at the small table opened their readers to the next story, “A Good Day for Wishes and Daydreams,” I asked, “Do you like to make wishes, to daydream?” When they readily admitted doing so, I continued, “What do you wish for?” The answers came quickly: a dog, tap dancing lessons, a bike, a baby sister, a trip to the ocean, and an exasperated response from David: “I wish I could go to MacDonald’s without my little brother. He takes forever to order, asks lots of questions, and then gets a hamburger with nothing on it but mustard!”
Adults also enjoy daydreams and wishes. Several years ago, I read an ad in the Craig Daily Press that introduced the community to a new doctor at The Memorial Hospital. The ad featured the doctor’s answers to questions about his life, training, and experience. I enjoyed his responses and thought if I ever needed his services, I’d like him.
When questioned about his interests, he said he developed an appreciation for the land and outdoor activities while growing up in Oklahoma and added, “Some days, I think all I want is a really nice tractor.”
I suppose all of us are susceptible to daydreams: starting a business, winning a karaoke contest, running a marathon, owning a tractor.
I like to observe strangers and imagine their daydreams: Does the graceful lady ahead of me in the supermarket line picture herself dancing the Nutcracker? Does the teenager riding his bike by my house imagine himself scoring the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl? Does the politician working the crowd think about the songs he wants to write some day?
My mother voiced her daydream: “I wish I could have an entire day when you kids could get along. No tattling. No arguing. No fighting. For just one day!” My dad longed for something grander in scope and more possible. He wanted to pack us all up in the ramshackle vehicle of the moment and move to Alaska.
I, too, had a dream. For 40 years, as I helped others learn to use writing to communicate their thoughts and ideas, I fantasized about sitting in a quiet, uncluttered place in front of a typewriter, writing whatever I could find inside me with a thoughtful look on my face — like a photograph I’d seen of Ernest Hemingway during his Paris years.
I never imagined fame and wealth or even readers. I never thought, “I’d like to write novels or poems or maybe messages for greeting cards.” I merely longed for a quiet place where I could give myself to the act of writing and see what emerged.
I don’t think my mother ever enjoyed a fracas-free day when my siblings and I were young. But as adults, the seven of us in various combinations found our way to her home where, inside its comfortable and familiar spaces, we ate our favorite foods, visited with the parents we loved, and managed not to quarrel, pinch, or tattle.
Dad never lived in Alaska, but his daughter Barbara made her living in the high school classrooms of Anchorage and Homer for 25 years; and Dad visited her often.
I don’t know if the doctor has a tractor.
As for me, I never mastered Hemingway’s thoughtful look, and my home doesn’t resemble his Paris office, but after I retired, I began to write; and when I do, I lose myself in the process like he did.
It’s never too late to make daydreams come true.
Janet Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at auntbeulah.com the first and 15th of every month.
About a week ago I was rolling a bale of hay down past the loading dock of the corral so that I could throw hay over the fence. Right there in the path was some rhubarb. It isn’t that the rhubarb hadn’t been there before, but I thought it had died out during the drought. It isn’t easy to get water to that location. The rhubarb is nice and tender, and I’m determined to use it up before the stalks get tough. So I hunted up my rhubarb recipes.