The midnight hour and my body slowly succumbs to the call of bed.  Actually, since mid- morning, I’ve been waiting arrival of this moment.  Anticipation – what was that old, old ad that began with a lyriced use of this word?  Boy, the brain tends to jump about when dark and weary-but-not-dreary time closes the day – “As I ponder weak and weary…”  Come on, Poe joins me at bedtime?  “The Raven” – I suppose I’ll dream about “The Telltale Heart” or “The Pit and the Pendulum.”  Anyway, fresh bedding does call, the morning laundry beginning the scented, ever-so-cool-can’t-wait time to crawl into and under to slumber on the perfectly comfortable, not so old mattress.  I opt to sit on the edge as a nightly ritual unfolds, one always worth the watch.

Sneaky cat Taz lurks by the edge of the doorway into the bathroom, curls nose alert just out of sight of Nani on the ceramic floor inside.  She rises, arch back, side-sidling, tail-twitching towards the entry.  She bolts, Taz leaps, the game full on. Sprint out the door across the dining hardwood dang who put that chair in the path vault to the countertop down into the living room over the couch dig for traction on the entryway tile into the den over Cherise’s new have to have beanbag under the desk back to the kitchen Taz jumps on Nani tumble roll hiss mreoww splunk into the patio door separate belly flop and stare at each other – panting.  They walk together back to my bedroom spectate, look up as if to say, “Really?”  Nani back to the ceramic sprawl and ‘bath’ time as Taz simply plops into his flopped legs purring cleaning check the doorway resume cleaning habit.  I waited “til the midnight hour for who knows why…when there’s no one else around” except the cats and I – if Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper will forgive the slight meaning and lyric alteration to their song.  Number 1 in mid-’65 on the R&B charts and #21 on the Pop Charts that same year.  The duo composed it at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis – where Martin Luther King would later be assassinated and why does my think wander again??

Time to crawl in – the sheets call as do the cool side of the pillow and the just right weight of blankets and comforter to skush me into dreamworlds. I do not try to suppress the deep inhale, long exhale sigh into “off my feet at last” settle into tired eyes imaginings.  I know in about five minutes or less – or more, after all they live on cat-ish time – two buddies will be on the bed as well.  Sure enough, a light land, circle the owl adorned ever so soft blanket with gentle paw pulls assuring nest niceness.  Then, curl into the back of my knees.  Nani.  A few ticks of time and Taz joins, immediately walking up my nestled side to quick-lick my nose and ensure the right papa lies in the right spot so he can lounge on the middle pillow to purr us both to sleep.

The little things.

Tonight’s prayer will be fully thanks and praise.  Smidges of several “thens” join the chat with our Lord.  A quick peek at mom at the kitchen table, hands folded under her chin as she reads the Bible.  Dad across the table, fingers curled around the coffee cup handle, his thoughts I never knew where.  No conversation, just the two at the table in their place – as usual.  Burgundy IROC garaged just so, waiting my pedal push, quick clutch lurch onto Division and into a roaming world of flashed, white stripe speed, gears pulled and T-top wind-rushed dreaming.  Brother Den and a farewell as his ministry took him to Germany for almost three years.  Brother Neil, his foot on the shelf below the Owl’s Nest bar, laughingly sharing a story with a Phil or Bob or Charlie just before my arrival at bar time to say good night and head home from a night’s revelry. Sunday School and church. As usual. So very many little things that stack up, build a life. Built on a foundation, strong and solid, too often forgotten – there. As usual.

The thanks end with the usual request through Jesus.  Forgiveness, the assurance of its receipt.  My eyes droop closed. Taz’s tail flits across my forehead one last time.  Nani nudges my leg, paw-gentle “night papa” as I loose a hand for a petted “night kitty.”  Amen, Lord.  As usual.   submitted by Dave Smith