Naps - Be Careful

Dec 12, 2022



One of the more interesting things that I remember about naps was that we HAD TO TAKE THEM IN KINDERGARTEN. What was so goofy about this was they put us down for a nap immediately after recess. Makes no sense to me as I was so wound up after having so much fun on the recess that the last thing that I wanted to do after having so much physical fun was to lay down and take a nap.

Well, on this one particular day, one of my classmates, a young girl named Barbara, and I got into trouble just prior to recess. The bad news was that I got punished and had to remain inside the classroom while Barbara got to go out and enjoy herself. I don’t remember the details of what got us into trouble but suffice it to say that watching Barbara running and riding a trike all around the playground outside our class was so painful - especially when she would come around and stick her tongue out at me as I sat painfully watching the other kids play.

I’ll show her.

When recess ended, the kids came back to their tables and then prepared to lay down for our twenty-minute nap. Barbara, being in my little cluster of desks, wiped the perspiration out of her eyes and threw back her long, braided ponytail that had flopped in her face. The teacher told us to lie down in our spots and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Barbara, sitting at our little cluster of desks, was assigned the lay-down spot next to me. She stuck out her tongue one last time, then turned her back to me and rested her head on the pillow. 

I, being the resourceful little guy that I was, had brought one of those little pairs of scissors that had rounded ends that never cut very well. A smart idea as most five-year-olds aren’t very adept at handling scissors. And no, in case you were thinking that I was going to stab her… That was not and is not in my DNA! :-)

However, an idea hit me when I lay there staring at Barbara’s back. 

Her ponytail.

I reached over after a few minutes and poked her to see if she was awake.

When she didn’t respond, I went to work with my handy-dandy scissors and began trying to cut through the top part of her braid. I came to find out a little later that Barbara had NEVER had her hair cut. 


She wore it in a long ponytail.

After what seemed like forever of my sawing and sawing on the top part of what, to me looked like a thick rope, the thing finally fell off with a thud. The ponytail landed on the ground next to her, and, having completed my task, I rolled over and tried to go to sleep. 

A few minutes later, the teacher directed us to get up and head back to our tables. Nobody seemed to notice anything for a couple of minutes. 

Finally, someone said, “Hey! What’s that over there?”

It took a few seconds to realize what it was and everyone’s eyes flew to Barbara. I looked at her and our eyes met and her wide eyes met mine and for the briefest of moments, I felt that sweet sense of revenge. 

That is until her wide eyes began leaking tears

My victory had somehow been transformed as I now felt a deep sense of sadness for her. Not because of the hair, but just of seeing the pain in her face and the tears.

I got in trouble with the teacher, then got in trouble by being sent to the principal’s office. It didn’t end there as I got in trouble when I got home.

The next day Barbara came to school with a short little haircut. 

Occasionally, although I know it is good to take a nap, I sometimes will lie down and my mind will drift back to Barbara and my decision. The two things that stick out were the hard work that it took to use those dull scissors to laboriously cut threw her hair, and the tearful look she gave me when she realized what I had done.

It has been fifty-seven years since that happened and I honestly believe it was a great lesson in teaching me empathy and compassion.

Plus one thing.

I don’t take scissors with me when I take a nap.

I’m sure my wife appreciates it.

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