As a kid, I’d visit my grandfather’s farm. It doesn’t matter which grandfather—they both had farms. My paternal grandfather owned a farm in New Mexico, and my maternal grandfather had one in Kansas. They both had the same advice.
“Jann, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, happy, and wise. That goes for a kid too.” We got up early on the farm, according to my standards, anyway. I stumbled out of bed around 7 a.m.—pretty early for a seven-year-old on vacation. My grandfather had left a good two hours earlier, while my grandmother sat at the table reading the newspaper.
“Oh, you’re finally up! If you’d been up a couple hours ago, you could have had breakfast with your grandfather and me.” She’d heave a sigh, fold her newspaper back into its neat compartmentalized rectangle, and rise from the table. “I’ll start your breakfast, give me a few minutes.”
My parents claimed they never received such royal treatment. Their mothers never cooked a meal fresh as soon as they appeared at the table. Only monarchs had that luxury—and grandchildren. My grandparents spouted more wisdom from Ben Franklin. “The early bird gets the worm, Jann.” Maybe so, but I got a hot breakfast, and my grandmother let me read the comics.
My aversion to early hours continued through high school and into my adult years. Oh sure, I can get up at the crack of dawn. But I must convince my brain this action is necessary, and there are no other options. To do that someone must persuade me. That situation doesn’t happen often—ask my husband.
“Honey, don’t you want to come deer hunting with me? We can watch the sunrise together, drink hot coffee, and enjoy the forest creatures frolicking among the dew tipped flora and fauna.” Okay, John might not have convinced me with those exact words, but you get the idea.
I attended sunrise on the deer stand exactly once, and I think John had to nudge me awake for the sunrise. I had a better solution. “John, isn’t the sunrise just the sunset backwards? So I can basically watch the same thing without getting up in the middle of the night. And I can drink coffee and watch the forest creatures frolic as well—the only thing missing is the dew. And really, dew is overrated, at least in my opinion.”
Recently, my husband dragged me to the coffee shop at 5 a.m. No, there were no forest creatures frolicking among dew tipped flora and fauna. Just Rick Rowe from Channel 3 out of Shreveport. He and his producer would be at the coffee shop 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. for his daily “First cup, first news” segment.
John gave his tried and true we’ve got to support our small town speech. “Honey, we’ve got to support the coffee shop! No, I don’t think calling Rick and asking him to move his segment to 10 a.m. is a good idea. I don’t even know his phone number. Well, I’m not planning to wear my pajamas on local television, but I guess you could. And no, watching his segment later doesn’t count as supporting our small town. We need to be there in person. At 5 a.m.”
I’ll give Rick Rowe credit—he’s the nicest man I’ve ever met before sunrise. I wonder if his wife’s a morning person? This early bird didn’t get a worm, thank goodness. But she got a large Maggs coffee, and that’s much better than a worm.
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at email@example.com