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Singin’ in the Snow

Brief by Ed Quillen

Mountain Life – March 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

On one frigid Januuary afternoon I had a computer question, and called the man who has forgotten more about computers than most people will ever know — Mark Emmer, who lives a couple of miles outside Salida.

Mark sounded groggy, so I apologized for waking him during his siesta (in my view, a fundamental right guaranteed to people residing on former Mexican territory by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo).

He was actually rather grateful, more or less, since he said he had been suffering from “wood-stove narcolepsy,” an ailment that has invaded our quarters, as well.

Narcolepsy has nothing to do with narcotics; technically, it’s a medical condition that makes you sleep all the time. And that’s exactly what you feel like doing when the stove is full of glowing embers and you can’t work up the energy to leave that comfortable heated room. You stretch out on the couch for a few minutes, but hours may pass …

Poetry came to mind because of the Sparrows festival and workshop in Salida (thanks and congratulations to organizer Jude Jannet, who put together an excellent program and made it all work).

Thus when I noticed a poetic cadence in the phrase “wood-stove narcolepsy blues,” it inspired this suggested song lyric:

The Wood-Stove Narcolepsy Blues

White stuff keeps piling on my driveway

There’s a snowdrift on my floor

The county never plows my byway

And there are gaps around my door


The mercury outside is frozen

But I’m cozy and I’m dozin’

All I ever want to do is snooze

I got the wood-stove narcolepsy blues

My pickup starter just goes “clickety-click”

If it makes a sound at all

And my tires are all “slippery slick”

I ain’t been nowhere since last fall

The phone line went down in November

Can’t call or surf the ‘Net

But there’s one thing that company remembers

Their bill’s the only mail I get

This dying fire won’t linger

It needs another log

But I don’t want to lift a finger

— So someday I’m gonna teach my dog

How to feed these wood-stove narcolepsy blues

So is there anyone out there who wants to host a motivational seminar for journalists?