Amid an urge to hang on to a dream,  I spill out into the night saying, “How great!” She says, “I’m sleeping.” It’s warm and soft and dark under the covers, but off I go. I limp downstairs in the dark to a cold thermostat, and up it goes from the 50s. Temperature wasn’t 55 quite, but no sense letting it go down any lower now that the cat and I are both up.

The cat demands his due. Well, his wet food. “Kibble’s running out, Johnnie?” Amazing  how anxious Maine Coon Cats get when they see a speck of white in their bowls.

Still feeling great. I mean she was still there in the exact white bungalow where she has always been, since I began calling her “Mom.” I mean not everyone gets a second mother, and nobody except Jack and his sister Karen had Joe as “Mom.” Seventy years later, Jack is still one of my close faraway friends. After all, we slept together once in a while. Dark and warm and not in any way sexy at 5 and 6. But I digress. That bedroom was up steep stairs in that little white house where I had just seen her.

It was on 20th Street, a half-block from my elementary school, the place where I spent morning kindergarten. I was in that tiny house each afternoon, while Jack was off in first grade, and my “real” mom was teaching full days. Mom-Joe agreed to watch me, and watch she did. Had cookies, steaming tea and a “budgie” (what she called a canary). She still had it just now when I saw her.

Down in the refrigerator light, I know when I saw her it was just a dream, as I know full well she’d passed away 20 years ago. But there she was as alive, warm, attentive and round in all the same places.  There was her cup of tea and cookies and the “budgie” with whom she had extended conversations. All of it so very real. I still got a huge warm kick out of seeing her again, and being in that reality again.  

No, wait.  I wasn’t in her house, I was in the middle of a dream. But it was so real, so noisy. That little bird next to the dining room window. I don’t usually talk about dreams, because nobody gets them, nor gets how full and complete they are. In the middle of them they don’t seem a dream at all, but another chance at life.  

Many men I hear complain about having to get up in the night. Not me. This is the real silver lining. The bane of most old guys’ existence is the silver lining of ripening age.  Awakening, and remembering dreams. I’ll tell you a bad one another time. Feeling the warmth, cookies and love still palpable in this one. Not just silver. Gold. 

I have a whiz, and am off back to bed. “Where’ve you been? You all right?” Sure, just fine. “Turn on the light if you want to.” Nah, it would just get in the way of more dreams.