The clock radio was old. It was so old, the numbers displaying the time were on little flat plates that would flip over when the time changed. In fact, the clock made an audible clicking sound when the time changed. At night, the time could be seen by the little light that illuminated the block numbers.
It was the only clock we had in the bedroom I shared with my two brothers. It sat on a bookshelf where we could all see it. Most of the time, I wasn't aware of the little clicking sound it made--it was just background noise--like the humming of the fridge, or the sound of the heated air blowing through the vents. However, on this particular night, I was very aware of the clicking sound. With each of the small, timely noises, it meant it was that much closer to morning.
I had fallen asleep fairly easily that night, but my little 7 or 8 year old body was just too excited to stay asleep. It was with dismay that I woke up and saw that the clock read 2:30 am. Let's see. If I was to get up at 7:00 am, that meant I had, wait--let me think about it--about 4 and a half hours to go. How many clicks was that? Ug, too many to figure out.
How did I sleep most of the time? What was the trick? Certainly my body was tired enough to sleep, but my mind had other ideas. It was filled with, oh, what was that saying? Ah, yes. "Visions of sugarplums dancing in my head." (What the heck is a sugarplum anyway, and why would it be dancing? Frankly, that's kind of scary--no wonder I had a hard time sleeping if my mind was filled visions of those)
I didn't want to wake up my brothers. No, let them sleep. Just because I was too excited to sleep, I shouldn't deprive them of the pleasure. Dang, only 2:47 now.
"Thad? Are you awake?"
" No, and neither are you. Go back to sleep."
Click, click, click. The minutes painfully passed. Click, click, click. Is that what the author was referring to when Santa came down the chimney? It kind of made sense now that I thought about it.
Then I got an idea. They said that counting sheep helped you fall asleep. But why sheep? Why not goats, or cows, or platypuses (or should that be platypusi as the plural of platypus?) Bah, it didn't matter. Sheep were fine. I imagined 60 sheep in a pen. Each second, one sheep would jump out of the pen. I'd start the count when I heard a click of the clock. That way, when the pen was emptied, another precious minute would have passed, bringing me closer to 7:00 am.
Darn if that pen didn't keep filling up with sheep.
"Kenny, are you awake?"
"I'm too excited to sleep!"
Okay, back to the sheep. I waited for the clicking so the pen would fill up. Click. Ah, there we go.
After the longest night of my life, we closed in on 7:00 am. Even Thad was awake now. We got dressed as the time got closer.
Then, it happened! 7:00 am! Whoo hoo!
"Mom! Amy! Time to get up!"
They were slow to respond. Bah! It was 7:02 now!
Amy came out of her room. As the oldest, and the only girl, I wondered if she understood how important this was.
"Mom's going to be taking pictures. I always look gross. I'm going to take a shower first," she said.
Are you kidding me? It was now 7:04 am! Taking a shower? I don't think so. Thankfully my two brothers voiced their displeasure at the idea as well.
Mom was up now. "Get in a line at the top of the stairs. Youngest to oldest," she instructed.
We did as we were told. C'mon! It had to be at least 7:06 by now!
"All right," she said. "Let's go see what Santa brought."
And so we did.