I still remember my first nightmare, decades after I had it.
I lie in bed trying to sleep when what appeared to be Frankenstein the monster walked in. He stood over me menacingly as I cowered in fear.
He wanted to do me harm but for some reason he could not pull it off while I was wearing my clothes. So he started tearing them off and tossing them aside.
First my coats. And yes, coats. Seemed like I wore a ton of them as he got more angry and kept tearing. Then there were my shirts. Again, there were several.
In my mind it seemed like a long time, though likely the entire scene was a few minutes if that. It didn’t take long for me to wake up and scream, sending my parents rushing in to see what happened.
Out of all my nightmares it’s still the one I remember best. I must have only been a few years old when I had it, likely 5 or 6.
There wasn’t really any sexual overtones to the dream. Not that I knew what sex was at that age.
Perhaps, though, as I look back at my life so far it was a precursor to the struggles ahead.
My daddy was a packer when I was a child. He spent his days packing dishes at a local pottery, working hard with his hands.
I remember the day I visited him at work and said I want to do his job.
"No you don’t," he growled, staring at me. "You will go to college and have an easier life."
I did as he said, at least the college part. I decided to become a journalist because I was much better working with words than with my hands.
As far as the easier life, not exactly sure if that’s true. But I still follow his basic philosophy.
Work hard. Be proud of a day’s good work.
If one job fails, find another one. Do not leave your mind nor your hands idle.
Always remember to pack so that there’s room for more.