By Joe Rector

As Amy and I ease toward retirement, we make changes to things that have been fixtures in our lives. We’ve meted out some of the items that Mother kept in her house. Amy gave herself permission to clear some possessions that she thought might be essential in earlier years. Maybe the biggest change to come is our choice of a new bed.

After we married, we slept in a full-sized bed for years. Over that time, we had several different frames and headboards. One of the first was an antique that I discovered. For several days, I worked to strip the coats of paint that had baked onto the surface by the heat of the barn in which it had been stored. The headboard was approximately six feet tall and rickety. We never knew if the thing would collapse in the middle of the night.

Mother gave us the bedroom suite that she and Daddy first bought. The headboard and footboard mirrored each other, and two dressers and a night stand completed the set. I remember as a small boy that I climbed in that bed when a scary dream woke me and sent me hustling to their room. Our children lay in that bed when they were little as well. Dallas especially enjoyed piling in the bed in the mornings and cuddling with his mom for a while. His fitful sleeping sometimes sent me in search of a place to finish a night’s rest.  At some point, we fitted that bed with a queen-sized mattress and rigged the headboard to fit the frame.

A few years ago, Amy bought a new bedroom suite. The old set was moved to Dallas’ empty room. It included two nightstands, one dresser on which the television sits and another monstrous dresser with a mirror mounted to it. Our bedroom seemed to have shrunk. The headboard was oversized, and not long ago, we moved the bed to Lacey’s vacant room.

We next bought a headboard and footboard from a Habitat Re-store. They had a much lower profile and didn’t overpower the room. Again, I tried to fix them to fit the frame for the bed, but the pieces jiggled and shook, and I was sure that they’d fall or break.

After more than forty years of marriage, we’ve bought a king-sized bed. Our decision was that both will sleep better if we have a bigger bed that doesn’t ripple with movement every time one of us rolls over. The real reason for a new bed is the dog. Sadie sleeps with us. She might start at the foot of the bed, but before the night is over, she’s moved between us or has stretch across the bed so that we cannot straighten our legs or pull up the covers.

Maneuvering in the room will become even more difficult, and my main worry is that I’ll stub my toes on the frame. Amy will eventually find the right kind of headboard for this new bed, and of course, new sheets, blankets, spreads must be bought. However, my tired, worn out body is looking forward to having enough room in the bed, unless our third sleeping companion still chooses to stay in close contact.