Early riser accidently wakes up even earlier

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

-- Cowboy proverb

I took a day off this week to drive over to visit my parents and help them celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

We went out for dinner and then back to their house to sit around with other family members and recall the stories of their wedding day and how my father -- home from a Navy tour -- gave up a hunting trip to get married instead.

Daddy sat in his big chair and told the stories about how they left for their honeymoon on a Greyhound bus because neither owned a car.

Mama sat beside him in her identical big chair, sewing on a comforter for a pending great-grandchild.

Both laughed because they couldn't remember the name of the hotel where they spent their first days of matrimony.

"It was near the bus station," Daddy recalled.

Eventually the evening ended. The others went home, and I told my parents I'd just spend the night there instead of driving back to Augusta so late.

I went upstairs to their guest room, stretched out on an old bed that has been in the family for a century and was soon fast asleep, confident that I had handled the evening just right.

I woke hours later, spotted the digital clock face on the night stand and realized it was time to get up.

I got dressed, made the bed, put my stuff together and went downstairs to sit and wait for my parents -- both earlier risers -- to join me.

I didn't want to go outside to get their newspaper because I wasn't sure I could handle their security alarm without calling in the National Guard. I am equally clumsy with their coffee maker, which last year I failed to operate properly, producing a dark puddle on the kitchen counter.

So I sat.

And waited.

And read old magazines.

And waited some more.

No one else in the house was rousing, and there I was, by myself in a darkened, early-morning house with no coffee and no newspaper.

I began to pace. I began to look at the family photos that pack the book cases and counted to see how many featured me (not so many) and how many featured grandchildren (a lot).

It was still pretty dark outside and quiet. The only sound I could hear was the ticking of the clock on the mantel. I walked closer, squinted at its old familiar face and realized why I was standing there alone, fully dressed in a darkened den.

I was up an hour early.

Somehow the clock in the upstairs guest room had missed its daylight-saving adjustment and it was 5:30 a.m. for the rest of the world, while I was operating as if it was 6:30 a.m., a lonely victim to bureaucratic time changes.

In my head, I began to compose the letter to my congressman: "It's time for daylight saving time to go. ..."

TODAY'S JOKE: Charlie Williams shares this one.

Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney.

"Did you see the paper?" asked Gallagher. "They say I died!"

"Yes, I saw it!" replied Finney. "Where are you callin' from?"

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