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Slightly Retired

"All small babies nap on and off throughout the day. Watching them open their eyes, yawn, have a snack, then close their eyes for another nap can fill me with intense envy. Except for a few sunny days, I've wanted to nap through the entire month of January. As a baby I did my share of napping and my mom made sure the napping continued. As my mother napped, so did her children. I believe my mother's serious nap-taking contributed greatly to her healthy long life. She preferred her naps, lasting about an hour, during the nothing-happening, nowhere hours of 1 to 3 p.m. She expected her kids to take naps at the same time. I realized later in my life that this was her way of maintaining her sanity and ensuring our survival. Even when my brothers and I whined and protested, she had her ways to make certain she got to close her eyes, if only for a few precious minutes. As small tykes, my brothers and I considered naps a form of torture. Yet the more we protested nap time, the more certain it became. If I stamped a foot and said no, I remember mom became even more quietly insistent on a nap. I could never understand that cause and effect, For instance, when I behaved vehemently about naps, mom would say, very sweetly, Come lie on my bed with me just for a little while. I had to relent and with her arm wrapped tightly around me, restricting even wiggling, sleep inexorably crept in. I'd wake feeling slightly ruffled because I'd given in to sleep, but also feeling calm, happy, and ready for cookies and milk. Sometimes, when my mother announced nap time, my brothers, who were older, would strongly resist, complaining, Only babies have to take naps; we're too old for naps. Without raising her voice or scolding, my mother seemed always to have exceptional responses ready for nap protests. She might say to my brothers, You probably are right, in such a manner that my brothers were filled with pride thinking they'd won the nap controversy. But, then my mother would add, Rather than nap, lie down to rest--only a half-hour, then you can get up. You can read if you want. After the half-hour I'd hear one or more of them quietly get up and oh so stealthily sneak off. But more often than not, an assumed victory ended by their falling asleep. As I grew older, my mother had to design new ways to have me nap with her so she could know what I was doing. I didn't mind because I liked the feather mattress on my parents' bed and the way the sunlight came through the shutters. If I stirred, she whispered, Go to sleep. .But I would sneak peeks to see when her eyes closed and then carefully slither out of her grasp and off the bed. As I crept out of the room, just before I reached the door, I'd hear her whisper, Where are you going? Such behavior on my part only prolonged the length of nap time, and usually, before I could manage another escape, the seduction of sleep would prevail. It made me mad at myself when I woke. When my grumbling about nap time became intolerable, mom might gently say to me, You can get your book or write a letter while I rest. And, as though predestined, sleep would win out and I'd once more wake miffed at myself. Not until years later did I realize I'd actually been getting duped into nap time With mandatory napping, it took a rare day indeed to have the rules lifted. Mom saw to it, wherever we went, that we napped. And this included my father. I remember many times on trips she would insist on his finding a suitable napping spot off on a side road. He'd stop the car, we'd get out and spread blankets under some trees or in a field. We'd all stretch out like so many sardines to take our nap. Sometimes we had our nap time in the back seat of the car, or in a chair, or on the floor. The strange thing is we would actually nap. Even stranger, many years later, I realized my mother had been training her family for adulthood. I learned to sleep in unfamiliar places, at odd times. I remember once having fallen asleep on a train packed with servicemen talking, singing, smoking, playing cards. When I woke, I glanced at the young man next to me. He smiled and said, Gee, kid, I'd give anything in the world to be able to sleep like that. I strongly believe we should stop pretending we don't want a nap or hiding them if we do indulge. We shouldn't be ashamed to say, I take naps! I'm sure if any of the presidential candidates added a nap platform to his campaign, he would draw more votes. It's time to take a stand, but stand isn't the right word when speaking of naps. Nap-takers could adopt a cliche such as Nappers of the World Unite, but that's been taken and doesn't sound quite proper. The best might be to loudly proclaim, I Nap and I'm Proud of It! Around the Senior CenterFridays, Feb. 4 through April 14: Income Tax Assistance. AARP volunteers have finished their classes and are ready to help others with filing a tax return. Bring paperwork and last year's return, on Fridays 9-12 a.m., no appointments. Tuesday, Feb. 8, 12:30 p.m.: Another Country Law Chat with attorney Ken O'Mhuan. This session will focus on IRS Collection Relief. Bring your questions for this hour-long gathering. Thursdays, starting Feb. 10: Six-week session of yoga focusing on rehabilitative asanas for hip therapy. Instructor Annapoorne healed her back injury in this manner. Classes 10-11 a.m. Private yoga sessions also available. Pre-register by Feb. 9, call 321-1600, Friday, Feb. 11: Trip to Spaghetti Factory for lunch and an afternoon with the Seattle Symphony. Cost $44, lunch on your own. Call ASAP, 321-1600, only a few tickets left. Senior Center activity ScheduleMonday, Jan. 31: 8:30 a.m. foot clinic by app't., 9 a.m. bridge, 9-10 a.m. tai chi, 9:30 a.m. BASIC INVESTING, 10 a.m. stretch & strengthen, 11:45 a.m. lunch, 7 p.m. BASIC INVESTING. Tuesday, Feb. 1: 8:30 a.m. foot clinic by app't., 8:45 & 9:45 a.m. tai chi, 10 a.m. Time Together, 11:45 a.m. lunch, 1 p.m. writing group, 3:30 p.m. hula. Wednesday, Feb. 2: 9:30 a.m. hearing clinic by app't., 10 a.m. quilters, 12:30 & 3:30 p.m. computer class, 11:45 a.m. lunch, 6:30 p.m. BINGO. Thursday, Feb. 3: 9 a.m. yoga, 10 a.m. stretch & strengthen, 10 a.m. arts & crafts, 1:30 Rainbow singers, 1:30 p.m. Crones, 2 p.m. computer class. Friday, Feb. 4: 9-12 a.m. TAX AID, 10 A.M. Time Together, 9-12 a.m. SHIBA by app't., 10:45 a.m. Fun Band, 11:45 a.m. lunch. "

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