Albion Recorder & Morning Star Columns

Looking Out: The joy of reading a book

by Jim Whitehouse

“I’m about to turn off my light,” I say to my beloved wife Marsha, as I put my book down on the nightstand next to the bed.

“Already?” she says, turning a page in her own book.

“Yup,” I say. “I’m not all that tired, but there’s a really violent part of the story coming up and I don’t want to have bad dreams.”

“How do you know it’s going to be a rough part of the book if you haven’t read it yet?” she asks.

“Well, the good guy is looking’ into the window of the house and sees his wife tied to a chair and the bad guy is pointing a gun at her head,” I say. “Little clues like that.”

“Good guess,” she says, turning another page.

“How’s your book?” I ask, even though I know it’s a great book since I’ve already read it.

“Good. I don’t want to stop.”

“That’s okay. The light won’t bother me.

Before I know it, I’m sound asleep, but in my dream I’m sitting at a desk working like crazy to finish a project of some sort, but a person comes in and starts asking me questions. I just want to get the project done, and I don’t want to answer questions. There’s some kind of urgent deadline.

Marsha shakes my shoulder. “Wake up!” she says.

I wake up.

“You were having a bad dream. You were yelling out and thrashing all around in the bed,” she says.

“Deadline,” I mutter groggily. “Must finish.”

“Just turn on your light and read a little more,” she advises. “Maybe the good guy’s wife will get away from the bad guy.”

I turn on the light and pick up my book. I read 5 more pages, and the situation goes from bad to worse. Now the guy with the gun has hit the good guy over the head and handcuffed him to a pipe under a sink, and he getting ready to shoot both of them.

“I’ll never sleep peacefully now,” I say, closing the book again and turning off my light. Soon, I am again asleep.

Now I’m standing at the top edge of a high cliff. Jagged boulders litter the ground below.

I do not like standing at the top edge of even low cliffs, even low cliffs without boulders.

A fierce wind is blowing from my back, trying to push me over the cliff. I lean back, arching my back to keep from falling. I look over my shoulder and there is a huge moose charging through the forest, right at me.  If the wind doesn’t get me, the moose will.

“Wake up!” says Marsha, shaking my shoulder again.

“Blumkastirvl,” I mutter.

“Whatever,” she says. “You were dreaming again and yelling even louder than last time. Turn on your light and read some more.”

I sigh. I turn on my light and open my book. Two more pages, and the bad guy’s finger is tightening on the trigger when the good guy’s older brother bursts into the room, gives the bad guy a karate chop, takes his gun away and saves the day.

The good guy and his wife embrace, the police show up to arrest the bad guy, and the brother quietly disappears over the horizon. I turn to the last page.


I put the book down and turn off my light.  Marsha puts her book down too, and her light goes off.

            Soon, I’m walking through a peaceful meadow, hand in hand with Marsha. Bluebirds flit around. The weather is perfect. A stream gurgles. All is well.

            Reading is a pleasure. But then, so is sleeping.

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