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Commentary: Just dreaming

Sweet dreams.
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Dreams are funny things, says humour columnist. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

"You mean, I have to kiss their butts?” These were the loud and incredulous words my grandson hollered out in his sleep on our recent family getaway. You can believe his grandfather and I asked him to explain this bizarre statement next morning.

Sheepishly, he recalled the convoluted dream. He’d been vying with another buyer for the attention of two prize fish at the local pet store. Someone had advised he try this unorthodox scheme to win the fish over to his side. Although the suggested action was physically impossible, and highly objectionable (from the point of view of the fish—and the boy) the sentiment remained. Kayden was prepared to do whatever it took to claim the slithery creatures for his very own.

Dreams are funny things. Over the course of a normal lifespan, a person is reckoned to spend six years dreaming, from anywhere between three and six times each night, yet seldom do we remember anything from these dreams. Throughout the ages, people have questioned why we have them at all, and what, if anything, they mean.

Sometimes we have hypnagogic hallucinations, which are brief, involuntary and imagined experiences that occur between wakefulness and sleep. I remember one in particular I had while driving for Bulldog Corral Cleaning. I hadn’t slept much the night before, but had been alert and feeling great until after lunch when a blazing sun warmed the cab of my truck. As I motored slowly across a field, the spreader flinging a fine spray of muck into the afternoon breeze behind me, I found myself dreaming I was in Italy, driving an enormous cheese grater that scattered mozzarella across the biggest pizza in history.

Not a pleasant thought when you consider that I was, in fact, spreading a load of putrid manure across a stubble field. I stopped immediately and ran around the truck a couple times to bring myself back to wakefulness.

My husband had a dream that scared the life out of us. He’d woken up in the middle of the night and had gone to sit on the sofa and read. The book fell across his lap unheeded as he dropped back to sleep and dreamed he was on safari in the African jungle. Suddenly a lion roared at him from a rock above his head! Reacting in the only way that made sense to him in the dream, he lunged up from the couch, took a deep breath, and began beating on our daughter’s bedroom wall with his fists.

“ROAR, ROAR, ROAR!” he bellowed back at the beast. In the next room, Aliyah came up off her bed like she was under machine gun attack and dropped to the floor in fear and trembling. Likewise, I leaped to my feet like a madwoman and rushed from the room to see what in heck was happening to the man. Was he having some sort of conniption? He stood in the gloom of the dimly lit living room in his pyjama pants, looking rather embarrassed.

Some dreams are ones we all have in common. A few of the most popular are: falling, being chased, finding ourselves able to fly, or appearing naked in public. Kissing the back end of a fish, or roaring at the Lion King wasn’t on the list, but not all dreams can be popular. Sleep well!

Helen lives on the family farm near Marshall, Saskatchewan. She is a writer, columnist and works in education. To contact her, or learn more about her books, go to myprairiewool.com or write Box 55, Marshall, SK. S0M1R0