South Alabamian

Take time to celebrate clean sheets

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I’m here today to praise the simple joy of fresh, clean sheets on a newly made bed.

A while back, I posted on Facebook about the feeling of climbing into the bed with new sheets and got a surprising number of responses.

Some gave the social media equivalent of standing up in church and shouting, “Amen.” I was amazed that they were enthusiastic about something as everyday as changing the bed.

After thinking about it, I realized it made perfect sense. We live often complicated lives with deadlines and commitments. We also endure an unending stream of petty annoyances.

We get caught in the rain, we get rocks in our shoes, and we get the middle finger for cutting people off in traffic.

If we have to suffer minor bad things, we should enjoy the little good things, like sliding into a clean set of sheets for the first time.

It’s a feeling that transcends our differences. No matter what color hats we choose to wear, we all share some of the same essential life experiences.

My wife and I usually don’t let sheets go too long before changing them because it’s an easy way to inject a small amount of goodness into our lives.

When we had a series of illnesses at the house, that pushed things a bit. It was a satisfying relief when the change finally happened. The new sheets actually made us feel healthier.

Even when we get sick and neglect our duties, it never gets as bad as my long-ago bachelor days, when the sheets finally had enough, peeled themselves off the bed, and rolled/crawled to the washing machine on their own power.

When I was a kid, Mom replaced the sheets for me. I probably should’ve thanked her more than I did, but kids find it easy to take for granted the things their parents do for them.

Mom might have taught me how to make a bed, but I don’t remember the lesson. I’m sorry to say that, for years, she either made the bed for me, or it went unmade.

That put me in a slightly stressful position on the night I spent at my friend Jeff Hurst’s house. The next day, I felt obligated to make the bed. To do otherwise would’ve shamed my family name.

I wouldn’t say I agonized over getting things right, but I took my time. It helped that this was years before my knee surgery, so I was young, nimble and quick as I pulled sheets this way and tugged them that way.

As we sat at the breakfast table, Mrs. Hurst thanked me but said I shouldn’t have bothered because she was going to change the sheets.

“I could tell you did it and not Jeffrey,” she said, “because it was done right.”

To this day, I still feel pride from her comment. The memory of the face that Jeff made is an added bonus.

I recently flew across the country to visit my in-laws, and they had the bed made when I arrived. It’d been a long day, and the clean sheets that greeted me were deeply appreciated.

They’re the people who taught my wife how to make a bed, and she has a different style than I do. She tried to teach me how to do hospital corners, but I didn’t listen.

I have the simple joy of Mrs. Hurst’s seal of approval deep in my heart, and that’s all I need.

M. Scott Morris is a former editor of The South Alabamian. He’s a writer and editor living in Tupelo, Mississippi.

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