By Joe Rector
When I was just a wee lad, I lay in bed at nights and dream. On some occasions, they were interrupted by warm streams that ran down my legs and soaked the sheets. No, I wasn’t dreaming of a bath or a swim in the ocean; I had not yet conquered the battle with my bladder. However, it did come before too much longer. Those nighttime events either exhilarated me or scared me to death.
Many nights I dreamed that without effort I could rise and fly into the sky. My soaring in the blue took me to views of our house and yard that I’d never before experienced. I suppose that being confined to the home place brought security in the dream. Sometimes I pretended to be a Superman as I jumped from the roof of the house. At other times, I ran along the yard and felt a sense of weightlessness take me over.
In another dream, my family rode in our old ‘54 Chevrolet on our way to some unknown destination. The ride always included a climb up some steep incline. Sitting in the back seat, I never could see the road ahead, something that made me feel nervous. We’d finally reach the top, but to my utter horror, the road would end, and the car plummeted to the ground hundreds of feet below. That same sense of weightlessness existed in this dream, but it was anything but thrilling.
As ridiculous as it sounds, I used to dream that I had been shot. Yep, I could feel the pain from the blast, and when I looked down, there in the middle of my stomach would be the shell casing from a shotgun. What was even weirder was the fact that the would-be assassins were cartoon characters, usually cats from the old “Mighty Mouse” series. The pain from the wound subsided, but I spent most of the dream trying to dig the thing out of me.
I’ve heard that this next dream is common. To my fright, I would arrive at elementary school wearing nothing but my “whitey-tidies.” I’d look down to discover my awkward plight and try in a thousand ways to cover up my naked, fat body. I suffered through the entire ordeal and found relief only when something awakened me.
In later years, I dreamed of girls, but let’s just skip that. In adulthood, I’ve most often dreamed about being once again with my parents or older brother who have been gone for years. Just seeing them was a joyful experience, although I never remember having touched them, and they rarely, if ever, spoke. My lowest point would be when I awoke to realize that all had been but a dream. That made me miss them all the more.
According to psychologists and other folks who have studied dreams, these night-time mental movies are products of our subconscious. Interpretations of dreams abound. Flying in a dream symbolizes either freedom or lack of it. Falling in a dream might symbolize the feeling of being out of control in life or in a particular situation. I think it just reaffirms my fear of heights and of all rollercoasters. Everyone has heard that appearing naked in a dream is symbolic of the fear we all have for being our real selves in life. It has also been said to represent our fear of being ridiculed or disgraced. Being shot indicates that a person wishes to get rid of some aspect of himself. I think it might simply be a fear of weapons. Last, dreams about loved ones who have died is nothing more that missing those folks and wishing that they were still around.
These days, my trouble isn’t the dreams I have. Now, I can’t remember them. I might have had a spectacular venture in a night, but all that’s left the next morning is a clouded memory or fragments of the entire thing. Supposedly, some dreams last only short periods of time. They seem like epic movies to me. I’m in no hurry to find out what it’s like, but someday I hope I receive a pair of wings like Clarence did in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Then I’ll know for sure that exhilaration that has only been present in my dreams.