I peer out of the crack in hay loft hoping not to be seen.

Just a short nap to revive me and then I’ll be back at it again before I am discovered. In my pocket folded into a square is the source of my despair and need for a nap, which stems from equal parts mental exhaustion, real exhaustion from getting up with the birds, and growing pains from being a youngster that wants to play a bit. It is an 8 ½ x 11, single spaced, 6 pt pica typed sheet. Every morning, during our summer break, and on weekends, we (my 4 other siblings and I) are greeted with “the list,” laid out by birth order on the kitchen table next to breakfast. Instructions vary from day to day but usually the intention is to keep us busy and accomplishing chores around the farm.

Ugh… it’s endless.

1. Make your bed and straighten your room.
2. Help clear the breakfast dishes, start the dishwasher.
3. Fold the towels in the dryer, put them away and reload the washer.
4. Feed/ water the chickens.
5. Feed/water your horse.
6. Hoe 6 rows of green beans. (Later we will pick for dinner.)
7. Weed tomato patch.
8. Fold the blankets on the cloth line.
9. Sweep the front porch.
10. Sweep the back porch with your sister.
11. You and your sister fill the coke machine.
12. Dust the living room and dining room.
13. Snap green beans for dinner.
14. Help gather 20 ears of corn and shuck it with your brothers and sister for dinner tonight.
15. Go down to the store (we lived in front of a country store 2 acres down our driveway) get 2 loaves of bread and 2lbs of Bologna for lunch today.
16. Read 30 minutes.
17. Clean/organize the Utility room.
18. There is a 5000-piece mailing this weekend. Each of you will do 1000 pieces, this is a paying job. And it must be done by Sunday night to take to the P.O. on Monday morning.

For me just being able to mark through one as a task is complete- feels like a huge accomplishment. But this nap is really weighing heavy on my eyes.

I hear mom calling me from the house.

Oh boy… she sounds adamant about finding me. Guess it’s time to emerge and get busy again. “Another day – sweet straw bed.”

Mom, I thank you for giving me a home filled with love and laughter. Teaching us to respect each other. Not allowing us to hurt each other with words. Building our character to be honest, hardworking individuals and above all else teaching us about faith, the importance of family and unconditional love.

Am I thankful for “the List”? Well, it did keep me out of some trouble! Yes.