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Chuck Hinman No. 162-B, Good night, John-boy

It's Just Me Again No. 162-B by Chuck Hinman. Good night, John-Boy
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column Chuck Hinman, IJMA No. 370 : Windmills, Remember Them?

By Chuck Hinman

There was a full moon last night here at Tallgrass Estates. I wasn't sleeping well although I felt great. I considered getting up and closing the drapes but to be truthful, I like evenings when there is a full moon and I drifted off in a sleepless sea of memories of other moonlit nights.

They are some of the delightful bedtime experiences of the Hinman family in the 1939s. In those pre-air conditioning days in the summer, we slept on our front porch that extended across the front and half way down the east side of the house. It was ideal for summer time sleeping. There was a full moon every night or maybe it just seemed that way.

And so, here's a typical bedtime scene at the Hinmans in Gage County, Nebraska, in those days.

There's a full moon and it's summer time. The thermometer registered a record 114 degrees today but by 9 PM it has cooled off to a "chilly" 92 degrees. Mercifully there is a breeze even though it is a hot breeze.

When it began to get dark, Mom and sister Joy Ann began their nightly duties of bringing the bedding from a nearby closet and making each of the three beds out on the porch. The "makings" consisted of our sheets and pillow cases. When we got up in the morning, each of us were responsible for folding and putting our bedding in the closet and "rolling up" the mattress for the day.

One by one the beds were occupied -- brother Bob and I in the double bed on the west side of the porch, Dad and Mom in their bed, and Joy Ann in a single bed somewhere in between. It was in the times when kids went barefooted all summer. Even though we weren't due a full bath until "Saturday night," Mom insisted that we kids wash our dirty feet in the kitchen wash pan before getting in her clean beds. And of course mommas usually get their ways as you already know. Bur getting to go barefooted all summer was worth washing your feet before you crawled into her clean beds.

Apparently because of the full moon every one seemed to have a hard time going to sleep. Bob and I had learned from somewhere (bad boys no doubt) how to make the sound of passing gas by cupping one hand in the opposite arm pit and cranking away! In the privacy of our upstairs bedroom in cold weather we got by simulating the sound of passing gas and giggling ourselves to sleep! But when we tried introducing it to the rest of the family in our front porch "co-ed bedrooms," it went over like a lead balloon. I remember hearing Dad snicker a little until Mom woke the neighbors "Now you boys stop that right this minute!" S-i-l-e-n-c-e -- (for awhile).

Some of those nights the front yard came alive with lightning bugs. We would get out of bed in our underwear shorts and chase lightning bugs collecting them in a Mason jar with holes poked in the lid. We kept that jar under our bed.

The whole family participated in the popular "knock knock -- who's there" stories. Or we would hum a song for the rest of the family to guess its name. Sometimes it seemed every one had grown weary of fun and games and gone to sleep, only to be awakened by an imitation of a bird or animal. Mom or Dad would usually intervene putting an end to the night time shenanigans of the Hinman family.

In the distance you can barely see the CB&Q Railroad passenger train with lighted Pullman cars huffing and puffing its way to St. Joseph, Missouri. What an appropriate time for someone on the Hinman front porch to say, "Good night, John-Boy" as aerial lighting on the Hinman farmstead fades and the credits begin to roll.

Written by Chuck Hinman, 6-26-08

This story was posted on 2012-03-18 06:03:08
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