Jim Bishop: It must have been something I ate . . .

Column by Jim Bishop
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A standout song in the Walt Disney animated motion picture, “Cinderella,” declares, “A dream is a wish your heart makes . . .”

But that doesn’t quite stack up with a recent nocturnal vision. I’m aware that my sleep is invaded by myriad dreams, but usually upon awakening, I can’t begin to play back any of these weird night moves.

But this time, a dream that seemed so real remained entrenched in my cerebrum upon awakening. Why this time? And why this particular dream, given that it made absolutely no sense, because I greatly dislike sauerkraut.


Yep, in my reverie – not quite deserving nightmare status – another fellow who shall remain anonymous and I were in the process of helping ourselves to (read “stealing,”) a large pile of sauerkraut that belonged to Norman Derstine.

Norman, who died in 2005, was director of church relations at Eastern Mennonite University when I started working there in 1971. I appreciated him and learned much from him in that role. He was my dad’s best buddy growing up in Doylestown, Pa. They sang in a quartet in the late 1930s-early 1940s. Norman’s son, Jerry Derstine, aka J.D. Martin, is a professional singer-songwriter living in Colorado.

Why Norman appeared in my slumberland cryptogram these many years later and had acquired this generous portion of rotten cabbage (sorry!) in the first place wasn’t clear. But, he apparently was planning to feed a small army when his plans were thwarted by yours truly and my partner-in-crime. Something somehow may have convinced me that there was about to be a huge upswing in sauerkraut stock on Wall Street.

About the time we had the noble cooked cabbage loaded up, who should appear on the scene but . . . Norman. He was clearly upset at our audacity – as distressed as the mild-mannered man was capable of. As I employed my best double-speak to rationalize our chicanery to Norman, the scene became blurry and I soon awoke with a sense that this episode really happened.

What does it all mean? I’m still trying to ascertain the significance, if any.

Meanwhile, this nighttime escapade provided some lively discourse with my wife, Anna, who was pretty much confined to the living room couch, having just had bunion surgery.

Like me, Anna has recurring dreams full if illogical scenarios. In some of them, I “abandon” her, my true companion of 43 years, but she always takes me back, fully forgiven.

Anna, by the way, likes sauerkraut and prepares servings for herself, while lovingly making something else to please my palate for the same meal. I can scarcely stand the look of the stuff, much less the aroma.

But, doesn’t this gastronomic debate suggest that episodes like these, even those encountered subliminally, help add spice to everyday life? What if we all relished the same things? The same foods?

Norman, if you’re reading this from that great Internet Cafe in the sky, I’m sorry for swiping your sauerkraut. Please forgive me.

I recall interviewing local psychologist P. David Glanzer some time ago for an article on dream interpretation, and he told me, “The rational mind (that’s assuming I have one) tries to make things coherent. A dream is not rational . . . it is like an artistic production that is not always possible to describe what you’ve seen or experienced in simple human terms.

“Pay attention to your daydreams,” Dr. Glanzer advised. “Dreams don’t come out of nowhere, and daydreams offer some idea of what is happening when the brain is set loose at night.”

So, maybe someone’s trying to tell me that it’s not too late for me to learn to eat and enjoy sauerkraut – along with strawberries, for that matter.

In your dreams . . .

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