The Night the Bed Fell on Margo
James Thurber is my favorite American humorist. I became
reacquainted with his works recently, and laughed out loud again at
Night the Bed Fell on Father." Little did I realize this would prove
My own bed is about 70 years old. I like its style. It's
solid wood, constructed before the days of laminate and plastic and
paper-thin veneers. Still, the bed is showing its age. The slats are always
slipping off the thin rails on which they rest. I grew tired of laboriously
reinserting them. It required lying on the floor, my head wedged up against
the wall, lifting the heavy mattress and box spring with one hand, while
sliding the slats back onto the rail with the other hand. This maneuver had
to be accomplished under the close, watchful eye of little Brownie, who
invariably decided it was a good time to show affection by licking my face.
During these ventures, I'd always look to see what Brownie
had stashed away in her hidey hole under the bed. I have found missing tubes
of toothpaste, forgotten doggie toys, half-chewed chewies, stray nuggets of
food, and even a couple of quarters. Brownie was ready to ride out the
apocalypse under that bed snacks, toys, spending money, fresh breath.
Sunday night we went to bed early, as we had missed our
nap that afternoon. Thus, we were both sound asleep at 12:30 a.m. when
CRASH! a sudden, stunning attack of misfortune jolted us awake.
I discovered my head lying much lower than, and at an
angle to, my feet. Little Brownie had been catapulted onto the floor. Our
bed had broken in two.
This is an eventuality I had always feared; it was bound
to happen. We dragged ourselves and our pillows into the guest room, which
we are oh, so lucky to have. We spent a discombobulated night in strange
In the light of day, I surveyed the damage. It was beyond
repair; I would need to buy a new bed. Or would I?
I have been meaning to "someday" move into the guest room,
and turn my bedroom into a dining room. Well, I realized,
Then, I considered the logistics: Find someone to help
lift and lug the mattress, the box spring, the broken bed frame and
headboard. Make a trip to the landfill. Clear out Brownie's hidey hole and
then vacuum. Notice the wall needs scrubbing. Notice the room really needs
painting. Notice that the surrounding rooms now need to be painted, too.
Find somewhere to store all the stuff stored under the bed and in the guest
room. Probably make yet another trip to the landfill. Buy a loveseat or
oversized chair that converts to a bed that can accommodate the once-yearly
I live alone in a nine-room house with a full basement,
yet there's not a single spare space or spot to be had. Perhaps, I thought,
I should forget the "new" dining room, and move my piano into the old
bedroom space. Then, I could buy a fancy gas fireplace for the formal living
room, which I never, ever use, except to play the piano. Maybe the spare,
pretty chair from the guest room could go in there? Maybe one of my four
desks could be moved to the new space?
See what's happening? One midnight misfortune, and
suddenly, two weeks of heavy labor ensue. The thought exhausted me.
First things first: Get the broken bed and the still-good
but nowhere-to-store mattress and box spring out of there. I called a friend
with a husband. I have often wished someone around here would start a
a husband" business. There are times in a single woman's life when a husband
is absolutely necessary.
This husband arrived with a toolbox. Hah! I thought, were
way too late for tools.
He took one look at the broken bed and said,
"I can fix
Hah! I thought again.
Yet, one hour later, employing a snappy electric drilling
thing, he had screwed back the broken bed rails, screwed the errant slats
into the rails, and put the whole thing back together. He even helped me
reinstall the flouncy bed skirt. Few men understand bed skirts, but he did
not seem overly perplexed. I guess bed skirts are one of those things
husbands learn to live with, like wives learn to live with March Madness.