I believe we should give more thought to our sleeping conditions.

This weekend I asked friends if they had any particular whims on what constituted ideal sleeping conditions and learned that people are more similar than different.

People like it cool. One mirrored my thoughts in saying, “I like to sleep warm in a cold room.”

She said she’d get back to me on that and this morning e-mailed that about 55 degrees is ideal.

My grandparents heated with a fireplace and a wood-burning heater in the opposite part of the house and too far away to do me any good.

The room in which I slept had cracks between the floor boards. During the summer you could see chickens through the cracks.

The fireplace held a fire all day which warmed its bricks. As night came the heat from the bricks radiated somewhat into the room.

My grandfather also warmed a brick, wrapped it in a towel and slid it into bed with me.

Quilts. That was the answer. All my family made and owned quilts, with the oldest from about 1882.

That quilt was pieced together by my grandmother when she was 6 years old. I look at it and marvel at how much 6-year-old girls have changed. The stitches are tiny and close together.

Heavy. Weight feels nice. We turn the heat down early here so that when the evening news comes on the house has cooled off.

There are several “throws” around but I prefer an old moving blanket. It is rough and heavy but I like the heavy part of it. I think it was five bucks at the tool store.

During summer I was allowed to sleep on the screened front porch.

There wasn’t a bed but a hard chaise lounge softened with padding.

After the neighborhood hushed one could hear the sounds of animals wandering around at night.

I was told that if I heard a woman screaming to remain calm and not be concerned.


That is the sound of a bob cat. We hear them all the time.

And I was supposed to sleep through that on a screened porch?

“If Tojo wakes up then you need to come in the house.” Tojo was the farm dog and I was certain he’d make racket if a bobcat came into the yard. If he could.

Some summer nights I open the house and listen to Dog River washing her rocks down the hill. It is a comforting sound to me and I yearn for a sleeping porch. One built on steel posts. Without a door.

Bobcats can’t climb steel posts.

Can they?

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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