Posted by: johnhourihan | August 3, 2013

By the time we wake, it will have all changed

It was a short trip in the middle of the night, but I learned a lot by the time I woke up.
The shrill bells atop the alarm clock shocked me from sleep. I jumped up and headed for the bathroom.
On the way, I turned on the tube and rearranged the console a bit so I could see the screen from the bathroom mirror. I adjusted the rabbit ears and went to shave.tv_set
I turned on the tap and drank a glass of water, slid a new blue blade into the silver double-edged razor handle and began to lather up my shaving cup while I watched the  morning news.
I shaved, splashed some cologne on, dabbed on some iodine and left the bathroom just as I heard “and that’s the news, film at 11. Don’t touch that dial,” but I did.
I clicked the knob off and headed downstairs.
While the coffee was perking, I made a good healthy breakfast; eggs, bacon, potatoes, buttered toast, and juice to go with my coffee with cream and sugar. My doctor would be proud. Every time he came to the house he would tell me, “Breakfast is the most important meal.”
It was a hot day, so I went out to the driveway and opened all the doors in my Plymouth to let some cooler air inside. I finished my coffee, then fired up the Fury. I pulled down the “Park” lever and pushed the “R” button. Wrapping my left fist around the suicide knob, I draped my right arm over the back of the bench seat and backed out
of the driveway.
I had to get to the cobbler’s first and then the watch repair shop, and then I needed to stop at the grocery store, but I noticed I was low on gas so I went first to the gas  station.
“Check the oil?”
“Sure, and could you put some air in that right front. I think it’s low.”
While the attendant washed the windshield, I passed a few pleasantries with the beat cop who was on his way to pick up a paper at the newsstand.
I told him I was headed to get my watch fixed, and he wondered if I had wound it. I told him it had been the first thing I thought of.
I returned to the pump, handed the attendant a ten, waited for my change and started off to have cleats put on my shoes.
Abruptly, I pulled over at the roadside pay phone and called a friend to see if she would want to go to the drive-in tonight, but there was no answer. It just kept ringing until I hung up and got my dime back.
A few minutes later, I was navigating the aisles of the grocery store looking for peaches.
“Peaches are out of season, son. You’ll have to wait at least three more weeks.”
I picked up a bottle of whiteout for my typewriter and a few cartridges for my  fountain pen and was headed back to the car when I realized I needed cigarettes. I smoked Raleighs for the coupons. Some people laughed at me for it, but I got a toaster oven with the coupons, and there’s nothing quicker than a toaster oven for reheating stuff.
Then I noticed the stacks of Jiffy Pop so I grabbed a few for the Friday night fights.
Back in the car I turned on the AM radio, but there was a lot of static because a storm was coming.
I had time; so I stopped at the coffee shop, had a cigarette and a coffee and played a few tunes on the counter jukebox before heading home.
The milkman had come, so I brought the milk in, poured the cream off the top into a different bottle. When I put it in the fridge, I noticed the freezer had to be defrosted.
I used to tell people the best way to defrost your refrigerator is to unplug it, go to a bar for five or six hours, and buy a mop on the way home.
I put my Irish sweepstakes ticket on the table next to the St. Christopher statue and prayed for a winner.
I wrote a quick note to my brother, licked a stamp, slapped it on, stuck it in the mailbox, and raised the red flag.
I picked up the phone, held it with my shoulder against my ear, and dialed the numbers.
She was home, so we set up a date for the drive-in.
When we got there, the pick up truck drove through spraying DDT between the rows of cars, and down at the playground, being careful to spray the children to keep the mosquitoes off them.
I always loved the smell of DDT.
After the movie, we drove down, picked up a pizza and went home.
We had expected to watch TV, but it was already off the air for the night, so we listened to the radio on the front porch. We talked about raising a family, and, looking at the stars, we pondered the possibility of the existence of God. It was a good talk.
I woke slowly and realized the alarm hadn’t gone off and that almost everything in my dream was extinct, on the verge of extinction, or bad for me.
And it was only a small part of the list.
All day, I hoped that didn’t include family, God and baseball.
I don’t know what we’d do without them.



  1. This one tha would be difficult to categorize: a dream or a nightmare. At the
    moment, I think baseball is saving my sanity. If the Sox can stay in contention, that is great. Frosting on the cake.

  2. I am sorry . This comment goes with the next article.

  3. Oh no. I was right the first time. Maybe you would rather I did not bother you with my cookiness.

    • Pat, don’t ever think that your comments bother me.


  4. Don’t worry John God will always guide you,baseball will always entertain you, and family will always haunt you!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. John, that was beautiful and what you didn’t say even more so. Non stop smile for 5 minutes now. You are a great pen master. More of us need to be
    reading this.

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