Dream from the night of October 3, 2021, annotated
Dreams are boring, says the main character in Robert Stone’s “Helping.”
Never put a dream in a story, said Camoin, who generally had few rules about writing. He believed in what works. Okay, he said, backing the needle off a tad, You can put a dream in a story if you have to, but it must have absolutely nothing to do with anything else in the story.
My father and I were going to mass in Galesburg. We were dressed up in sport coats and ties. He was driving north, presumably from Macomb, and there were snow covered mountains to the west rising above a flat prairie. My father remarked that sometimes when he was in the shower he could see these mountains out the window and was amazed by them.
Bob Dylan’s song “The Girl from the North Country” was playing in the background during most of this dream.
We arrived at the church and there was no place to park. My dad kept trying to park on the street, but the spots were not legal. Finally, we decided I would go get us seats in the church and he would park the car.
During the dream I heard something crash in the house, but did not investigate.
I walked in through a door and was in the sacristy where a red-haired priest was familiar to me, but I couldn’t place him. He was not the red-haired priest from the Newman Center at Western Illinois University.
I went into the building through the sacristy and into the church. The seats were against the walls and a small make-shift altar was in the middle of the room. I found an empty bench on the left and sat at its end, intending to save a seat for my father. An older couple with a developmentally disabled adult daughter sat down next to me and I explained I was saving the seat for my father. They said okay, but the disabled daughter was sitting super close to me and kind of hanging on me. I was very uncomfortable and the parents were pulling her away from me. Although my clothes were very dressy as I stretched out my legs in front of me I that I was wearing brightly patterned socks that did not match my pants or shoes.
During the dream I heard the wind blow a door shut inside the house, but did not investigate.
Meanwhile, where was my father? And why wasn’t mass starting? It was ten minutes after the hour: 10:10. It was taking my father over twenty minutes to park the car. I finally got up and walked out of the church to find my father.
He wheeled up, and now I noticed the car was a big boxy American sedan, from the 1970s. My father was no longer wearing his church clothes. Macklin was in the back seat and he had an enormous bag of tacos and a pizza in a box.He explained he had been in the mountains for days. “Where?” I asked. “Way up there,” he said, “all the way to Lake Constance.” He was dressed in hiking clothes, including his ski pants with suspenders. He was real happy about his days in the mountains and especially about all the food and we were looking for some place to stop and eat it. That was the end of the dream, Macklin smiling.
In the morning I looked for signs of fallen objects or a shut door and found none. I had been up for a couple hours and wondered why it was still dark outside. The garbage truck came by and I wondered why it was so late. I checked my watch and it was only a little after six. The garbage truck was on time; I had been awake since around four a.m.
I recorded this dream because in the six years since he passed away I have only remembered dreaming about Macklin two or three times. And, he was so happy in this dream and it made me happy to see him happy.
I think I don’t dream of him so much because he is always on my waking mind. I mean this quite literally. It’s like when you’re writing a sustained piece, a novel, and as you go about your daily life you’re only half in the world because in your head you’re “writing” the novel. Or, like when you’re dreaming, you can be conscious of what might be going on in the waking world: a crashing sound in the house, a slammed door. Even, I suppose, if nothing has crashed and nor any door has slammed shut.
Macklin could eat a tremendous amount of food. I remember driving him to work and he asked if we could stop at McDonalds. Sure. He ordered a large breakfast, and then he said, “Can I have another one?” Sure, I said. Twenty bucks of McDonald’s breakfast. Aisha and I once asked him if there was anything he wanted us to get for him from Costco. “Get me some FOOD I CAN EAT,” he roared.
I shared the dream first with my wife and my son. My wife was fearful: “Do you think it means you’re going to die?” But that’s not how I interpreted it.
My son said, “Was that heaven inside that car?”
“Yeah,” I said, “It may have been. Maybe as close as I’ll get to it.”
` My son and I are planning a pilgrimage to Lake Constance. Apparently, it is a very strenuous hike, even dangerous if you believe the route description (though I doubt it). When you hear a call like this, you answer. We will tread carefully and listen to the wind, the rock, and the stars. We’ll sleep by the shore of Lake Constance, and, perchance, dream.
-  Macomb, Illinois, our home for 13 years was about a thousand miles from any mountains.
 The Dylan/Johnny Cash duet version.
 I have never been to the Catholic church in Galesburg and have no idea where it is.
 “Sacristy.” This word can only be in my head because I am watching a horror series, Midnight Mass, on television that had a few sacristy scenes.
 Macklin passed away in 2015.
 Lake Constance. Never heard of it. Research shows a famous one in Switzerland and another one in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. In the dream, I presumed he was in the Chugach above Anchorage.
 These are real pants that he left behind.