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  • Vermilion Voice

Prairie Wool

Dream or nightmare?

Ever had a dream where you’re out in public, perhaps shopping in a busy mall, delivering an impassioned speech, or mingling with roughly 100 of your peers at a 40th school reunion (my actual nightmare) and glancing down, suddenly realise you’re wearing nothing but your pyjamas, or worse yet, are naked? As stated, I have. What if it happened to you in real life? Well, not the naked part, but the pyjama thing?

These days many people leave the house to run errands in fuzzy flannel pants. However, it still remains an uncomfortable vision for me. That’s why I was a fool to exit my home last week in some crazy yet comfy PJs I’d purchased for my daughter Aliyah some years ago.

I’d been home sick all day with a cold. Curled up on the sofa under three blankets, I drank honey/lemon tea as I watched the Marilyn Dennis Show through bleary eyes. My friend Kim had driven the bus for me that morning but couldn’t later on. Knowing this sad fact, I still somehow managed to fall into a fitful slumber.

Suddenly I reared upright and consulted the clock. How long had I been sleeping? Good grief, there were only ten minutes till school let out! I lunged for the door, snatching sunglasses and keys as I dragged my wheezing carcass to the bus. Once out on the road, I realized I was not properly dressed. Great.

I comforted myself with the fact no one would see me. I keep a low profile at the best of times, but behind my shades and sitting low in my seat – who would ever know?

Of course, I forgot that nothing gets past little girls, and one paused beside me to remark, “What a strange outfit you have on Mrs. Toews. Is that a tail I see?”

“Ha-ha, don’t be ridiculous,” I croaked, my face flooding with colour as I hurriedly stuffed the thing out of sight. “Now, take your seat.”

I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled away from the school, but when we arrived at the home of a sweet little kindergarten girl, I could see I was beaten. Her mother was walking out to meet her.

It’s been my experience that small children take considerable time to prepare for any form of departure. Especially if you’d like them to hurry. Calmly, the child rose and peered out the window to assure herself we were in the correct yard. Then she began the labor-intensive application of her jacket. After zipping up, she reached leisurely for her backpack, pulled it across tiny shoulders, and adjusted the straps.

Meanwhile, Mom reached the door of my bus. With a sigh, I opened it, and she looked in. Her jaw fell slack, eyes widening with questions yet unspoken.

I slumped on the seat in head-to-toe, fuchsia, and black, leopard-print pyjamas. The hood, complete with long cat ears and googly eyes, hung like a cape around my shoulders, and a lengthy, spotted tail brushed the floor beneath my seat. I grinned stupidly at the woman and, between fits of coughing, tried babbling out some sort of believable explanation.

Okay, so maybe it’s not quite nightmare quality, but the whole unpleasant scene could undoubtedly have featured in one heck of a bad dream. To contact Helen or to find her books head to

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