National Nap Day

It was an accident. That’s all it was. I am not getting old.

I wasn’t particularly tired yesterday, but something came over me. I was on the sofa, eating lunch, watching a spring training ballgame, sipping iced tea, drowsing off.

The next thing I knew, I awoke two hours later, disoriented, covered in iced tea, ice cubes melting on my chest, and I was drooling.

My wife found me. She looked shocked. She said, “Were you just taking a nap?”

“A nap?” I said. “Don’t be silly. Naps are for old people, I’m too young for those.”

“You were napping.”

“No I wasn’t.”

“Yes, you were.”

“No. I was practicing mindfulness.”

I have my dignity to preserve.

When I was a kid, I remember my mother once saying, “You know you’re getting old when you fall asleep and spill food on yourself.”

That’s never been me. I was a fast-moving kid with a taste for danger, always looking for international thrills.

My bicycle had baseball cards on the spokes, and I knew how to beat the Jacob’s Ladder game without even trying.

I knew the rules to Texas Hold’em, and played for high stakes behind the fellowship hall with Jay Ray, Ed Lee, and the janitor, Mister Stew. To this day, Mister Stew still owes me nine hundred thousand dollars.

Who has time for naps? Not me.

Growing up, I strapped a transistor radio to my bicycle handlebars and rode gravel roads, listening to “Hit the Road Jack” until the speaker popped.

I had dirt beneath my fingernails. I could climb any tree. I was raw energy. Everyone knew this about me.

Case in point: when I was seven, I was in the school production of Handel’s Messiah, and the teacher had to write brief biographies about the soloists in the bulletins. She wrote about me: “Sean Dietrich makes enthusiasm seem like an inadequate word.”

Those were her exact words.

As an adult, I now realize her words were simply code for: “Sean gets in trouble whenever he shows signs of brain activity.”

But at my age, speed was life. It went hand in hand with my profession. I was a rowdy cowhand, a government agent, an astronaut, a Western sheriff, a private investigator, a supplemental insurance adjuster.

People like me do not get old, neither do we wear Velcro shoes, take fiber supplements from tiny on-the-go packets, or enroll in AARP. And we never nap so hard that we spill tea on ourselves.

I remember my Uncle Larry coming to stay at our house once. He was old, gray, and hard of hearing. He stayed in my bedroom.

Every day, Mama brought him lunch on a tray—a grilled cheese and iced tea. During his stay, I had to sleep on the den sofa, but I didn’t mind because I got to watch Johnny Carson before bed.

One afternoon, I crept upstairs to find Uncle Larry lying on my bed. He was on top of the covers, limp. He had spilled a glass of iced tea on himself, his sandwich was half eaten, and scattered on his chest. Also, his mouth was gaping open.

I nudged him. “Uncle Larry,” I said.


I tried a few more times until his jaw fell open and his false teeth fell out.

I screamed. I ran downstairs and found my father. I told Daddy that he’d better sit down because I had some bad news about Uncle Larry.

“Well, spit it out,” my father said.

“I believe Uncle Larry has met the Lord.”

“You think what?”

“I think Uncle Larry has joined the Invisible Gaither Quartet in the Sky.”

My father came rushing upstairs. So did my mother. Everyone gathered in the bedroom and got very quiet. We stared at the motionless old man whose upper dentures were blocking his airhole.

My mother covered her mouth and said, “I knew I should’ve cut his grilled cheese into quarters.”

My father put his ear to Larry’s chest. “I don’t understand,” said Daddy. “He seemed fine this morning.”

“Well,” said Mother, “he certainly was blowing his nose awfully hard yesterday, maybe he blew something loose.”

She nudged Larry’s body.


“Poor Larry,” she said. “At least he was at peace.’

What happened next, forever lives in family history, and is still talked about today in certain circles. What I am talking about is when my father removed a thumbtack from the cork bulletin board above my desk, then said to the ceiling, “Forgive me, Lord.”

My mother said, “What’re you doing?”

“I just gotta be sure,” he said.

My father stabbed the thumbtack into Uncle Larry’s upper thigh. The old man shot out of bed and screamed words that would make an Episcopalian blush.

My father was so overjoyed that he hollered. And Mama started singing “In the Sweet By and By,” and clapping her hands. A good time was had by all.

Uncle Larry never came to stay with us again.

Anyway, I’ve forgotten why I was even writing this. Oh, yes. I remember.

Happy National Napping Day.


  1. Christina - March 16, 2021 6:36 am

    Thanks for that good laugh! I felt better that I wasn’t the only who accidentally took a nap today.

  2. Heather Miller - March 16, 2021 6:37 am

    When uncle Larry shot out of bed I laughed a chocolate chip cookie into space. That’s a visual i won’t forget. I usually nap half way through Dr. Phil; nothing against Phil, it’s just that’s a great time of day for a 30 minute nap. Great story, Sean.

  3. Laura - March 16, 2021 9:00 am

    Dang, I missed napping on national nap day? Sitting in a comfy chair and turning the tv on usually trigger a short nap, I must be old. Thanks for the giggles about your childhood, you must be my brother from another mother.

  4. Leigh Amiot - March 16, 2021 11:33 am

    Playing cards clothes-pinned on bike tire spokes, a transistor radio, climbing trees, anything on wheels—roller skates, skateboard, bicycle, even a unicycle…thanks for that mini-vacation to my childhood…too busy for naps then as well! I take cat naps now and then, but I reckon I’m not quite old yet because I have yet to spill food or drink while doing so. I now know when I will officially be old. Poor Uncle Larry! 😂

  5. Lisa Weir - March 16, 2021 12:21 pm

    I belly laughed at least three times while reading this one, Sean. This really excites my four dogs! It’s gonna rain all day today in the North Georgia Mountains. I might need more than one nap.

  6. Neil Joiner - March 16, 2021 12:53 pm

    I wish someone had told me it was National Nap Day. I slept right through it.

  7. Kate - March 16, 2021 1:09 pm

    Oh the joys of childhood that the children of today will know nothing about.

  8. Jo Ann - March 16, 2021 1:09 pm

    I read somewhere that when you’re young, a nap is punishment, when you’re older, a nap is a vacation!!! Happy Nap Day!

    • Christine - March 16, 2021 2:03 pm

      LOL, 🤣🤣😄😄😀😀😅😅😁😁😀😀😂😂🤣

  9. Julie - March 16, 2021 1:18 pm

    It doesn’t always have to be a whole nap. Sometimes it can be a “Snack Nap.” Just ask Snoopy…he knows🐾.🐾…from “Peanuts.”

  10. Phil (Brown Marlin) - March 16, 2021 1:36 pm

    Never heard of National Nap Day. Did you make that up? There’s still a lot of that mischievous boy in you, Sean. Anyway, how ironic that you would write about the importance of naps on the very day that I will be too busy to work one in. Too much service work, Dr. appointments, and church meetings. However, I have gotten some of my best shuteye in physician’s waiting rooms.

  11. Deb McLaughlin - March 16, 2021 1:59 pm

    Thanks, Sean!

  12. John Kowalski - March 16, 2021 2:05 pm

    Great story today, Sean! Shades of Lewis Grizzard. He would be proud!

  13. Susan Kennedy - March 16, 2021 2:07 pm

    I laughed so hard I cried! That hasn’t happened in a while. Now I need a nap! 😂😂😂😂

  14. Cathy Moss - March 16, 2021 2:20 pm

    I too enjoyed that wonderful freedom in my childhood with two brothers. Our bikes were best friends. Even riding with hands in the air. God was def. looking out for us. Those were wonderful times And bring back great memories. My brothers set up camp and I was the cook. We sang Davey Crocket, King of the wild frontier. Maybe I will dream abt that the next time I take a nap❤️🙏🏻😂

  15. Jane - March 16, 2021 2:26 pm

    OH MY WORD! Thank you for the laugh today. The sun is absent today and the clouds are leaking but pure sunshine came out of this article. I remember when my brother and I were small. My parents would take a nap on some Sunday afternoons. We thought they were CRAZY to be wasting a SUNDAY afternoon………time when, usually, no chores were to be done on our dairy farm except milking twice a day. Farming is a hard work and he mostly farmed alone. I now understand the pull of a few extra minutes of rest as a Sunday afternoon nap is often taken advantage of at our house. My mother-in-law didn’t nap but she “rested her eyes”. My husband is an Olympic Gold Medal contender in napping. He works hard and naps hard! Of course, “they say” that naps extend your lifespan………..he’s gonna live to 120! Thanks again and happy napping!!

  16. Jenny Young - March 16, 2021 2:57 pm

    I am laughing out loud!
    “Sean Dietrich makes enthusiasm seem like an inadequate word.” made me laugh but by the end I was really having a good time.

  17. JonDragonfly - March 16, 2021 3:37 pm

    Ima gonna celebrate appropriately.

  18. Bill - March 16, 2021 4:14 pm

    Funny how a nap creeps up on you. Like Uncle Larry I don’t need naps….yeah sure.

  19. Richard Cobb - March 16, 2021 5:21 pm

    I take great exception to the perception of Velcro shoes as old people’s gear. I see them as a great alternative to wasting time with obsolete technology. I have been addicted to Velcro’s since I saw the first pair three decades ago. I wear them working in the yard, walking the dog and about every other time except church. I see them as active wear, like tech-cloth windbreakers,with Velcro sleeve ties,of course. At 74 I still work right through National Nap Day taking care of my little slice of God’s creation with our 1858 log cabin on it. Just ain’t got time for shoe strings and naps ,although the latter looks right attractive at times. Waking up Uncle Larry reminded me of a similar experience waking my mentor, the late George Wood, one of Alabama’s great old- school naturalists and founder of the Alabama Wildflower Society. George and I laughed ourselves silly over that experience.

  20. Linda Moon - March 16, 2021 5:29 pm

    I am not getting old….already there. No sleeping naps for me….. mindful rest works best. My guy takes naps because he must rest from being not quite grown-up yet. You brought memories of lots of enthusiastic kids I taught, and I wish you had been one of them, Young Sean. And while My Guy is napping, my mind will be wondering about what those words were from Uncle Larry!

  21. Rebecca Souders - March 16, 2021 8:42 pm

    Thank you. Happy National Napping Day to you, too. I intend to celebrate it….. quietly.

  22. Mo - March 16, 2021 9:42 pm

    LOL😄 My dad used to say he was watching the inside of his eyeballs. Nothing beats a good nap with your cat on your lap.

  23. Heidi - March 16, 2021 10:58 pm

    That was a good one!😂
    My husband dozes off for a little nappy every evening after dinner. It’s almost like I’ve drugged him.😳

  24. Sheri K - March 17, 2021 6:40 pm

    Precious! Simply precious!!!

  25. Fred - March 17, 2021 7:04 pm

    I call mine Power Naps!
    Sounds manly, don’t it?

  26. Bob E - March 18, 2021 6:40 am

    Thanks for the chuckles – now sending this to neighbor (not uncle) Larry…
    I don’t nap except maybe once or twice a day – but only then.


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