I doubt anyone would dispute the benefits of a good night’s sleep, but I have also discovered there is both benefit and joy in a good nap as I have gotten older. 

A nap is described in the dictionary as dozing outside of sleeping, and I have been told it is the body’s way of saying you have not had enough sleep, but I have fallen asleep in my easy chair after a full night’s sleep so I’m not sure that is always true. My wife and I find it hard to get through a movie or a long TV show anymore without taking a nap in the middle, which means we have to record things we really want to see. The nap, however, is worth that little inconvenience.

There are different types of naps we experience throughout life; as a baby, we napped pretty much all the time, which made it hard to distinguish from actual sleep. When we got to our toddler stage we were required to nap just to give our parents a break. As teens, we napped in school when the lessons were less interesting than what was outside the window. (Or was that just me?) A lot of men (including me) nap in their cars as they wait for their wives to finish shopping. New mothers nap anytime they can when their baby is sleeping. 

The naps I always enjoyed the most came as I rocked my infant children and grandchildren on my shoulder as they snored softly in my ear. I have not had one of those great naps since my youngest granddaughter, Carrica, discovered running was more fun than napping with grandpa. For a while I seemed to have the magic touch when she was a baby; I could put her to sleep easier than anyone when she was cranky. I miss those days now that she has outgrown the need for grandpa and his rocking chair. Now she is a 3-year-old whirlwind only her big brother Aiden can keep up with.

There were some good naps I recall taking as a kid on those long lazy hot afternoons when I lived next door to the McCoy boys on East Fifth Street here in Sedalia. I remember our mothers would spread a blanket on the ground in the shade between our houses to get us to slow down and rest. We would then do anything but nap. Our mothers knew, however, if they could keep us on that blanket long enough with the warm breezes blowing over us, horseplay would eventually give way to a nap. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes the horseplay won out. 

I’m too old for horseplay now, and the ground seems too hard to lay on even with the thickest of blankets, so I’ll stick to my recliner. The only thing I wish I could add to a nap sometime is a grandchild draped over my shoulder snoring softly in my ear.

Guest Columnist

Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident, former radio news reporter and former Democrat contributing columnist.

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