Little sleeps in the afternoon, around 1:30 P.M.
My grandmother was a great believer in naps.
Right after lunch, she'd clean up the lunch dishes and put away the leftover food, wipe the table and the counter clear of crumbs, sweep the floor and then head towards her bedroom.
Behind the closed bedroom door, she removed her fine daytime hairnet, replaced it with a sturdy heavy-duty night-time hairnet, lowered the window-blind, wrapped herself in her plaid wool laprobe and sitting on her bed, she'd gently lower herself to the mattress, relaxing in the very center of her 3/4 bed.
After closing her eyes, she would always raise her right arm and cover her eyes with her forearm to shut out the remaining light in her bedroom.
At exactly 3:00 P.M., my grandmother would wake up, get out of her cozy nest of bed-and-blanket, remove her sturdy heavy-duty night-time hairnet, replacing it with her fine daytime hairnet, raise the window-blind, straighten her bed coverings and open the bedroom door.
Straight to the sink, filling her old aluminum tea kettle to the brim with fresh-drawn cold water, she would set the kettle to boil on the old round-cornered Monarch stove. As she waited for the water to reach tea-temperature, she would fill a small china plate with her home-made date turnovers from the old green and white checkered cookie tin, choose her favorite china cup and saucer that her sister, Edna, had given her years ago and place everything on the kitchen table.
When the water threatened to bubble up and escape through the crooked spout of the kettle, she would rescue it from the heat very quickly, pour the boiling water over the heaping of tea leaves in her old brown china teapot, then set the pot on the trivet in the center of the kitchen table.
While the tea steeped, she walked to the refrigerator, opened the door and brought out the fresh cream skimmed from the morning's milking. Taking it to the table, pouring a fresh cup of hot, strong Lipton's tea into her china cup and stirring in a couple of spoonfuls of thick sweet cream, she picked out the fattest and chubbiest date turnover, placed it squarely in the center of another of her little china plates and was then ready for her daily ritual of an after-nap afternoon cup of tea.
Today, knowing my grandmother's penchant for sweets and anything sugary, I often wonder if her nap was a way for her to justify her petite pig-out afterwards. After a nap, a girl needs nourishment, after all!
More than likely, it was her way to escape from the world for a short while each day. Time just for her, without interruption and without fail. My grandmother really knew what she was doing, I think. Especially with the date turnovers...
“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” ~ Unknown