Bedtime Story

Last evening I read myself to sleep from a collection of short stories by Bram Stoker entitled Dracula’s Guest. If you recall, Mr. Stoker was the man who wrote the novel Dracula back in 1897, which is largely responsible for our present fascination with these undead creatures.

He was not the first to write about them, however, and if you are game you may find this piece entitled Older Than Dracula: In Search Of The English Vampire to be of interest.


(But I digress. It is a distressing feature of getting on in years, and whenever I catch myself at it, I try to remember to apologize to my audience. I do so now.)

The last story that I read this evening was The Squaw, a tale of a newly married couple on their honeymoon traveling across Europe with an American fellow. He turned out to be an affable enough traveling companion but through a series of mischances found himself inside a spiked medieval torture device which was called the Iron Virgin and … I really can’t go into details without upsetting some of my readers, so this is as far as I will go tonight. At the end of that story I decided that I had read enough of things horrible, thank you very much, and did not need more. The book was closed firmly and placed on the bedside table.

I soon fell asleep, only to be wakened in two hours by one of my least endearing afflictions, the suffocation dream. I am plagued by perennial nasal allergies that are with me … well … they never really leave me completely, but instead wax and wane in their intensity. Last night they waxed, and my nasal passages slowly closed as I slept, prompting that part of my brain in charge of such things to serve me up a lovely dream where I was buried alive in a small coffin. The sensation of suffocation that was part reality and part a dreamwork woke me in quite a state of fear and anxiety. Since I am an old hand at these things, I knew that it would be some time before I would be able to go back to sleep, so I took myself to keyboard and computer and here we are, you and I.

Suffocation dreams can take several forms besides being buried alive. I can be drowning, or find myself in a cabinet where taking a deep breath is impossible, or rolled up in a carpet, or under a pile of bodies … the possibilities may not be endless, but my brain keeps looking for new ones, bless its little heart.

So blame Bram Stoker for this bit of rambling. It was his horror story that set the scene, and my nasal passages then wrote the screenplay.



YouTube served me up this tasty morsel this week. I didn’t recognize its origins, but thank you, YouTube, for an unanticipated gift. The music reached into my soul and found some scattered traces of hormones back there in a corner under a pile of old newspaper.

Lord have mercy.



I am beginning to seriously resent the Grim Reaper’s depredations. Now the crazy bugger has reached in its bony fingers and removed Gordon Lightfoot from his seat at the table of life. What point is that guy trying to make? One by one the entertainers of my generation are exiting stage right, with no encores allowed.

Gordon and I were basically the same age, and if the Reaper is trying to make a point … I get it.

But what a bunch of songs Lightfoot left behind, each one something that can warm whatever room I happen to be in. He was at his professional peak during the seventies, the years that my family and I lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and those songs are indelibly associated in my memory with that period.

In 1975 an ore boat named the Edmund Fitzgerald was taken down by a November storm, just off the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula. Lightfoot wrote a ballad describing the event, and donated profits from the song to the widows and orphans that the sailors left behind. Good man, Gordon.

If You Could Read My Mind
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

There is a question posed in the lyrics of that last song that as far as I know still remains unanswered:

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

I do believe that I’ll put Gordon’s music on replay … maybe the whole darn day.


A small gallery of somebody’s family during those same years, 1974-1980.


One thought on “Bedtime Story

  • Those pics are great.
    Heard about Gordon yesterday. Listened to some of his songs. I loved when he called Superior Gitche Gumee and the big lake. Most people on the north shore call it the big lake and so do I. Always felt very familiar with that song.


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