« Call Me Coach | Main | The Blacksmith Down the Lane »

Thursday, 15 April 2010

And What Would You Like?

By Johna Ferguson

The other day after we arrived from Seattle, I was making my bed at our house in China. We now have twin beds and my husband has a matching bottom sheet and quilt cover. Remember, older Chinese are used to getting up and folding their quilt (in a certain way of course) and placing it at the foot of their bed.

This maybe was because in past times, the rooms were small and you probably only got one room plus your kitchen and bathroom down the hall. That meant if you had company for dinner, the folding table would be put up so that one or two always sat on the bed or beds to eat or chat while the rest drew up stools. Thus the bed really was also a davenport. But remember, no matter what size the bed, Chinese sleep in their own quilt, wrapped like they are inside a cocoon.

I just got a new twin bed. I was sleeping for the past 10 years on a wonderful small fold-out bamboo cot. I had it because when I lived with a Chinese family, the room I was given was so small a twin bed wouldn't fit in it. But when my two sons came for a visit last year, one made a snide comment about his mother sleeping on a child’s bed and the next day, my husband went and got a twin bedstead a friend had been borrowing.

That meant I had to have a mattress made for it, plus a twin bed quilt. We went to the market and bought the innards for a cotton quilt and then had a duvet cover made while we waited. Then home to make my bed, but what to use for a bottom sheet?

I had two queen flat sheets from Seattle, much too big, but better that than nothing so I used one of them. But this trip I decided a queen sheet was too big. I searched through my husband’s things and found a pile of his former family’s linens and one was big enough for my bed, but it reminded me of the tablecloths at Italian restaurants or those used at picnics.

It’s very heavy woven cotton, not soft and smooth like 520 count percale sheets are. Not only that, but it has bright blue and white woven checks, big ones, three inches across. As I lay in bed that first night I wondered if I was really lying on a table and if my body was the food, who would take what part of me to eat.

Chinese like chicken feet so surely someone would choose my boney feet to chew on. They also like thinly sliced pigs ears for they are big and soft. I have big ears so I was sure someone else would want them as a tasty treat. They eat tendons, stomach – well, just about anything, so I thought my entire body would be devoured.

Therefore, before I have any nightmares about someone eating my body, I am going to go and have a couple bottom sheets made to match my quilt cover. I will pack that tablecloth sheet away and if not, let my Chinese husband sleep on it on his bed. Let his body be the fodder for others.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thank you for sharing that story. I found it fascinating and I think you must be very special to be able to adapt so easily to such a vastly different culture. Tell us more!

You are fascinating. Tell me your address and favorite colors and I will send you sheets.

The comments to this entry are closed.