Artist’s Lane: The crown and throne


    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    I’ve concluded that at the latter stage of a person’s life, it’s the little things — and sometimes the necessary things — that count. 

    It’s been said that a castle is what makes a man feel like a king. No doubt that a good name is his crown and an overstuffed recliner his domain. Then, life checks in and unravels all the great platitudes. 

    Personally, I’ve found myself in a dilemma. I’ve hit a snag. To be honest, I’ve done nothing to provoke my Sweet Al, but lately he has been keeping me awake at night.

    I talked to my nephew recently and told him of my woes. “Al is talking in his sleep, sprinting in bed and acting out his dreams like Whiskey after a day of play. I’ve moved to the edge of the bed where I hang on, waiting for the next bump in the night.”

    My nephew says his wife tells him he’s socked her a couple of times during the night. Now they pile pillows up between them. He said, “Your answer is, you need pillows, a lot of pillows.”

    Perhaps I need to call “My Pillow Guy” in order to get my 40 winks. I shudder to think that my need for sleep has come to this. 

    My Sweet Al is taking what we affectionately call his “brain pill.” Although it took some time to get things regulated, I’ve found that I need to cut him back to a quarter dose. At the higher dosage, he talks in his sleep all night selling life insurance. One time, I heard him trying to buy a car, squabbling over a hundred dollars just to make the deal. 

    A few nights ago, he was boxing in his sleep. I woke him up, “Al, what are you doing?”

    Half awake, he groaned, “I was waiting in the bushes for this man who was following me. Then I jumped out to grab him.” Evidently, even after the Hallmark movie of the week is over, my Sweet Al goes to sleep and reenacts the final scene. 

    I was relieved to hear from my nephew that there are others out there who are also active in their sleep.

    So, I’m looking for peace of mind. And while I thought it would come in the form of a pillow, an ad at the home store said otherwise. It was affixed to a toilet. “This unit will bring you peace of mind.”

    Come to think of it, I am in the market for a new “peace of mind.” I even told my children about it a few weeks ago. At our age, it’s not just my Sweet Al who is wrestling for comfort in his castle lair. 

    Man in the high tower, meet woman who needs a higher throne. 

    My family teased me when I told them how difficult it was to get up from the chamber pot. My knees just aren’t what they used to be. 

    Our son told me, “You know you have to try them all to find the perfect fit. It’s not just price or design that is important, but butt match.”

    Little did he or I know that I would find myself looking at a wall that had a row of commodes, 8 feet off the ground. 

    While on a weekender with one of our daughters, we stopped by to see what was on sale. As I looked up at the various models, my daughter said, “Well, get up there and take one for a spin.”

    I can’t even get up from a sitting position, let alone scale a wall to find relief. 

    The whole experience made my head swirl: 16 1/2, 17 or 19 inches? Gravity or high pressure? Oval or round? Did you know that today’s toilets have the best flushing performance since 1970?

    Final brushstroke: So, to this end, what does a soft pillow and a well-fitted commode have in common? For old people, it’s the little things — and the necessary things — that bring us peace of mind and give a good night’s sleep.

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