ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT
AND SOME THAT AIN'T
Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!
Well, August is windin' down and September and Labor Day both is breathin' down our necks. And if that ain't enough, all the young'uns started back to school up here on Monday. I don't know 'bout where you live at, but they did here. And, y'know, that never made no sense to me. The kids don't much more'n get started back to school 'til they get off for Labor Day. Why don't they just put it off 'til after Labor Day's over? That's what I'd do. And that just goes to show you that they didn't ask me nothin' about it.
Another thing they didn't ask me about is the time school takes up in the mornin'. Around here it starts at eight eight o'clock and turns out at three. They could start at, say, nine o'clock and let 'em out at four. Or how 'bout at ten and let 'em out at five? That way, young'uns could get up and do a little work around the place before goin' to school. And it wouldn't bother 'em none. Shoot, it'd do 'em good. And I bet they'd like it too. It'd be better'n havin' to set in a school room.
But maybe that's just me. I'm a early riser. I was the youngest kid, the last one left at home after the rest of 'em was grown gone. When all of us was still at home, I'd sorta get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes Mama would forget about me and I'd get to sleep a little longer, but after they was grown and gone, I got all her attention. She'd get me up early so I'd have plenty of time to get my chores done before I went to school. That was part of it, but it wasn't the only reason. Mama just had this thing about gettin' up early. She thought you ort to get up at the crack of dawn, that it was just pure-d ol' laziness if you slept late. And she wasn't gonna have me turnin' out lazy. She woke me up at fifteen 'til five ever mornin'. It didn't make no difference what day it wasSaturday, Sunday, rain or shine, sleet or snowat fifteen to five Mama would start hollerin' at me to get outta bed.
I slept up in the loft of the house and the stairs, really more like a ladder than stairs, went from the kitchen up to where I slept. Mama would stand down at the bottom and holler up at me. She'd start out kinda soft, not too loud atall, more like I was already up and she was just talkin' to me.
"Time to get up." She'd say it just like that. And I always heard her. I was already mostly awake. She'd been rattlin' pots and pans around for ten minnits. Mama could make more racket in the kitchen than anybody I ever saw. I figgered she done it on purpose. The noise was s'posed to wake me up and her callin' me was just to let me know that now that she had woke me up, it was time to get outta bed.
She wished. That first time she said anything, she might as well have wrote it on a piece of paper for all the good it done. I didn't even give her a grunt. After a couple more minutes, after some more bangin' around and what sounded like her throwin' pots and pans up in the air and lettin' 'em fall on the floor, she give me my second notice. This time it was a little louder. "Are you awake? It's time to get up!" It still wasn't as loud as all that, but I knew I couldn't just roll over and play dead. I had to give her some kind of answer.
"Yeah, Ma. I'm awake, I'm gettin' up."
It didn't matter what I said as long as it wasn't a grunt. If I made any kind of effort, if I said something with real words in it, it let her know I was at least awake enough to make some kind of sense. She needed to hear that. That way, there was at least a possibility that I was startin' to move around. She didn't expect me to actually get up, but if I didn't say nothin' atall she'd stand there at the foot of the stairs and holler at me 'til I did. Ain't no percentage in that, so I'd mumble somethin' and that'd buy me a couple more minutes.
That was some of the best sleep of the night right there. Yeah, that few minnits between the first time and the third time she hollered was always sweeter than any other time. But with the third wake-up call, the sleepin' was all over.
"GET OUTTA THAT BED AND GET DOWN HERE!"
I knowed that if I didn't get up then, the next thing I'd hear would be somebody comin' up the stairs. And it wouldn't be Mama. It'd be Daddy and I didn't want him comin' to get me up. Daddy didn't believe in hollerin' and he didn't believe in sayin' somethin' more than once. I learnt that early on and ain't never forgot it.
But a lifetime has come and gone since the days when I was a young'un, gettin' up and goin' to school ever day. Mama and Daddy is both gone now. The old house where we lived is gone too. And there ain't nobody told me I had to get up at any certain time for more years than I'll admit to. So why do I still do it? Why do I get up at fifteen minnits to five ever mornin'? There ain't no good reason for it. Habit I guess. No, it's not even that. I reckon I'd feel guilty if I didn't. I've got Mama's words ground into my head. I'd feel like I was plum lazy if I stayed in bed till six or seven o'clock.
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