Darrell Huckaby - Sleeping in a challenge of biblical proportions

"Nothing," says the poet, "is so rare as a day in June."

Actually, there is. A day in February. There are only 28 of those most years, but who could ever wax poetic about February?

Well, we are about three weeks deep into June now, which means the Fourth of July will be upon us before we blink and then will come August and the first day of school. Time flies - at warp speed these days.

I made a long list of resolutions for summer this year. I know most people do that at New Year's, in January, but really - who has the time? You are cleaning up from Christmas and getting ready for the college bowl games and those first few months of the year really just kind of take care of themselves.

But summer! If your life cycles around the school calendar, like mine does, summer provides a bit of a respite from the rat race of the rest of the year. I had big plans for this summer, and first and foremost on my list was sleeping in.

That's right. I promised myself that this summer I would begin most days by lounging around in bed.

I am an early riser, you see, by nature as well as necessity. People often ask me, "When do you find time to write and do all the other things you do?"

The answer is easy. I get an early start on the day. If my head is still on the pillow at 6 a.m., I have overslept and will be behind the rest of the day. Saturdays and Sundays offer no exception to that general rule either. I like to get an early start on the new day and relish the early morning hours, when the only people awake in my household are me and the dog. I know I said the only people; my dog thinks she is a person.

I can drink my coffee and read the papers and put my thoughts into words while the day is still fresh and hasn't been scuffed up too much.

But I promised myself that this summer I would allow myself the luxury of staying in bed until at least 8 a.m.


Know how many times I have accomplished that feat? Exactly the same number of times Georgia Tech has beaten Georgia in football this millennium. (Sorry. I couldn't help myself. It's only 69 days 'til kick-off.)

Nada. Zero. Zilch. None.

Sleeping late sounds good, but it's not as easy as one would think.

To begin with, there is that sun thing. My bedroom window faces east and the sun is pretty regular. It shines through my window, right onto my face, each and every morning. After years and years and years of trying to beat the sun up, it is nearly impossible to ignore when it kisses your face every morning. If we ever have a cloudy day, then maybe I will get to sleep a little later, but judging from the latest weather forecasts, there seems but little chance of that.

Then there is our dog, Rachel. The one I said thought she was a person. I don't think Rachel is aware of my resolution to sleep a little later this summer. When the sun shines in the window she is ready to go for a walk, and when she gets ready to go for a walk, she starts walking around outside our bedroom door, jingling the stupid dog tag on her stupid collar. Ever the light sleeper, I can seldom stay asleep when collar-jingling is going on. And if I do, she knows how to bark and isn't timid about doing so.

And if Rachel doesn't wake me up, the cows will. That's right. Cows. I have cows outside my bedroom window, and they like to greet the sun with a lusty chorus of "moo, moo, moo" each morning.

And if the sun and the dog and the cows don't get me up and going each day, my bladder will.

When I joined the Boy Scouts, a hundred years ago, my scoutmaster was Aubrey Barnes. Every night, when we were on camping trips, he would tell one of us to bring him his "alarm clock." He meant his canteen. He would always take a big swig of water just before turning in at night. I didn't get the connection then. Trust me - I do now.

One magical morning last week, however, the stars and planets were lined up and I almost got to sleep late. I had gotten plenty of exercise the previous day and was worn to a frazzle. There was a rare cloud cover blocking the sun's rays. The cows were back in the lower forty somewhere, and Rachel's collar was surprisingly quiet. I was sawing logs way up into the morning.

And then at 6:21, my lovely wife Lisa's beeper went off. Some inconsiderate woman was having a baby while I was trying to get my beauty sleep.

Big sigh.

Oh, well. At least I know sleeplessness isn't hereditary. I have two teenagers left at home who have no trouble sleeping until noon each day.

Nothing is so rare as a day in June. Enjoy them while you can. We have about six left this year.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.