After Midnight

It is another Sunday morning and the sun is up, the air is cool and crisp, and leaves litter the front lawn. I slept late this morning, or at least later than I should have although I have reasonable excuse – I stayed up too late last night, past eleven – almost to midnight.

I remember (often) the days of my youth when after midnight was truly after midnight, well after midnight. Eric Clapton’s song says it all about what I was doing:

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down.
After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout.
We’re gonna stimulate some action;
We’re gonna get some satisfaction.
We’re gonna find out what it is all about.
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down.
Eric Clapton – “After Midnight”

These days, I can’t hang much after ten, maybe it’s because I have aged or I have gotten wiser, or just that I realize that have to get moving and accomplish something before noon.   

olemisspostcardLike last weekend, my excuse was a college football game and it was the same team – Ole Miss, albeit a different venue. Last night it was my couch and last weekend it was Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi Rebels.

At school, my students finished reading The Giver weeks ago, the dystopian tale of Jonas and the community. Every December the ‘Twelves,’ all twelve year olds, are assigned their jobs. The job assignment is done by the community’s elders and is based on their observation of the children. Jonas is selected by the community to be the new receiver. As he begins his training and learns about his responsibilities in the community, he begins to receive the memories of the community from previous generations or as Jonas says from ‘back and back and back.’ In the beginning the memories are mild – snow and sledding which are entirely new experiences for Jonas because the community has no snow, or no hills, because generations before had decided to adopt “Sameness,” the belief that if everything and everyone where the same there would be no conflict, no sadness, and everyone would be happy – a utopian society. As the book reaches its climax, Jonas receives the memory of family and love and he begins to think about what is really important to him and to the community. The past few weeks I have been reminded about how important family is, though if you asked W or O they wouldn’t see a difference. But, I have had a few reminders how important it is to be connected, which is how I ended up in Mississippi last weekend.

I flew down early last Friday morning to visit J, my step-mom. It was good to see her; no really, it was wonderful to see her. The weather cooperated and apart from a stray thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, the days were clear and it was a perfectly pleasant Southern Fall weekend. We were able to catch up and I connected with her community in Oxford. It was good to know she has a solid community around her. I reached out to my family – my brothers and her family in England. I enjoyed eating dinner with her, sharing morning coffee, and helping her learn how to use her iPad. Like many of us, me included, technology has moved past us and yet sometimes it enables us to keep moving. I am grateful for technology – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and my blog for connecting me beyond and at the same time, I worry and fret about how it is almost a virtual community in my mind and well, ‘out there.’ Technology keeps pushing me forward and helping me grow. Last week at school, the English Language Arts department met as a whole to reflect on the year and the changing curriculum – what we teach and how we teach or sixth, seventh, and eight grade students. One of the assistant principals reminded the group that in order to learn, we should be uncomfortable because discomfort comes when we stretch and learn. This year has been uncomfortable as I stretch and learn with my students. I suppose that is how J feels with the iPad, but with enough support, she’ll learn, then master it and grow. I am not giving in, nor am I giving up.

An Old Ag ’84 at ole Miss, Gig ’em Ags!

I chose the weekend because it was a three-day weekend for me and I would miss two days of school, instead of three. It also happened to be a football game weekend for the Ole Miss Rebels. They were playing Texas A&M, where I went to college. I consider myself an Aggie, and even though I didn’t finish in College Station, I will always root for the Aggies and bleed maroon and white. I hadn’t seen the Aggies play a game – in person – since my days as a student in the eighties but I decided I would step out, find a ticket, and watch the game Saturday night. Game day in Oxford is an experience worthy of a blog post unto itself, maybe even a book, but game day celebration is one giant party culminating with the game. I got my ticket, found my seat, and rooted for the Aggies in a sea of Rebel fans. It was a good game and it ended on the final play as the Aggies kicked a field goal to win 41-38. Afterwards, I walked back to my car, navigated the postgame traffic and climbed in to bed long after midnight, close to two in the morning. I overslept Sunday morning and we missed church. I was disappointed because missing church meant missing J’s friends and the chance to visit with her community, her Oxford family. Sunday night we did have dinner with one of her dear friends, the friend who had called weeks before to let me know about J and to prompt the trip. It was a good dinner and even better visit and I even earned an invitation to provide technical support for her computer.

When Tuesday came, it was cloudy and it rained as I drove to Memphis and the flight home. It rained was raining when we took off, the plane climbed, broke through the clouds, and saw the sunset from 20,000 feet, another subtle reminder that life moves forward. I landed, gathered my bags, and was home before in time to see the kids before bedtime.

It is good to be home, to be with family. At this time of the year the sun rises after seven and sets before six, so it wasn’t until I Saturday that I saw the house or the yard in daylight. It looked good. I stayed late Friday night at school and got a few things completed, but there is more, adding to my discomfort. Saturday I watched W play his final Saturday football game of the season. He has one final game this coming Friday night, but after that, the season is complete for him. The varsity will play on in the playoffs after Friday, but football for W is finished for the year. Another season, another sport will arrive in November and the cycle will continue. I spent the remainder of Saturday on errands and distractions – all self-inflicted. And that is how I ended up Saturday evening watching college football on the couch and rooting for Ole Miss to defeat the LSU Tigers. The Auburn Tigers had defeated my Aggies earlier in the day and last night; I was rooting for the Rebels. My mom, an Auburn alum – Class of ’60, had called to let me know, “War Eagle!” greeted me when I took the call. It was good to talk to her even if it were to learn the Aggies had been outscored. The Ole Miss game came down to a final field goal with six seconds left, and this time the Rebels came up on the winning side of the score. It was a good game and fun to watch. I switched off the television, went upstairs, climbed into bed and waited for B and O to come home from the Eagles concert. When they did come home, close to midnight, I listened as they talked about the concert. They both had a good time and I fell asleep to the tunes of “Tequila Sunrise” and “Hotel California” in my head.

It is Sunday morning and it is getting close to noon. Today is gonna be a great day. Even though it is long after midnight, I am going to take Clapton’s advice,

We’re gonna stimulate some action;
We’re gonna get some satisfaction.
We’re gonna find out what it is all about.
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down.

I have leaves to rake, papers to grade, lessons to plan, and household chores to do. Sundays during the school year do not change, it is going to be an uncomfortable day, and so I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Today is gonna be a great day. I know it and can feel it. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one task, one chore, one step at a time.

When was the last time you stayed up past midnight, what were you doing, was it worth it?


10 thoughts on “After Midnight

  1. Great choice of classic Clapton for this post! I am still a night owl and will usually be up after midnight reading, blogging, or watching some tv. I wish we had some good college football here near NYC but this part of the country is just not into it as much as the South and West. College games are so much fun!

  2. I’m not an after midnight person, but immediately my mind started singing the song when I caught your blog title! For kicks, my husband and I went to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games when it came out. Oh how we struggled to stay awake. We joke now about attending midnight movie releases.

    1. Last week I was up way too late driving and had to keep shifting to keep myself focused. I hit the pillow and was gone. These days I am early riser, I get a lot done before anyone else is up! Late nights are so passe! take care and stay well. I am far behind in my reading and writing these days and hoping to make a change in Movember!

  3. Ha! I’m no good at post-midnight either. But when we go to Spain to see daughter, it has to be. The Spanish eat late, stay up late, and if you do as they do, there’s little choice. Somehow I accept it there – it’s the way it is. And we’ve just got an unexpected chance to go to Bilbao for a few days with someone we don’t know (long story). But what a chance! To see the Guggenheim Museum and spend time in the Basque country. If staying up till midnight is the price we’ll have to pay…. well, so be it.

    1. It sounds like a glorious time… we all make time for the things that are most important to us. Take care and stay well. I am way behind in my reading and writing and looking forward to making a dent in my blog reading today. Thanks for following along.

    1. Thanks for compliment. I was driving along and saw the fields of puffy cotton and pulled over and got out of the car to get the shot. The plants are really appear fibrous sturdy plants. I keep rooting for the Broncos – they are having a great season. I have been overwhelmed and very uncomfortable lately. I had to choose between reading and writing and staying afloat. Staying afloat won, but I almost went under. I am looking forward to catching up and moving ahead in Movember!

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