It’s safe to say that a military recruit will be jolted awake within 24 hours of when he or she raised their right hand to take the enlistment oath.
It’s also safe to say that reveille may be the most hated sound among military people. It never comes anytime than really early, and it definitely doesn’t come quietly. There’s no such thing as sleeping through it because at the same moment as it sounds, every light in the barracks is also turned on. And it’s not unheard of for the company commander or a deputized watchstander to add to the cacophony by crashing trash can lids together. Talk about a rough way to start the day!
I report this from firsthand experience, still a strong memory 40+ years later.
Travel delays made for a very late middle-of-the-night arrival to bootcamp and lost luggage meant borrowing pajamas from another recruit, but I finally was able to get to bed around 3 a.m. on the morning of our company’s first full day in bootcamp. It seemed I had barely closed my eyes when REVEILLE (yikes!) sounded.
I woke up—how could I avoid it?—but I had absolutely no idea what was going on! In fact, it took a moment or two for me to even remember where I was. Realization was quickly overcome by the reality of my new situation. I had a new boss—several actually—and nothing in my growing up years came close to preparing me for my first reveille, never mind the rigors of ten weeks of bootcamp!
Bootcamp is as challenging as it is transformative. I’m not going to attempt to describe bootcamp—anyone who’s been has their own particular memories and stories to tell—and anyone who hasn’t been has probably heard enough stories to be glad that’s one experience they missed.
My bootcamp experience notwithstanding, I have always been a morning person. What has changed over time is how I choose to wake up—reveille is NOT, in my opinion, a good way to start the day. Still, I do need something to rouse me from sleep. It’s taken some experimentation, but I’ve finally settled on a method that works for me.
I want to wake up to something I know. Using the radio is not a good solution because it’s impossible to know what even a favored radio station might play at any given moment. I don’t want to be startled awake so I avoid alarms. The only feasible solution for me then is to rely on recorded music. Even that presents a challenge because the selected music has to meet several important criteria: first, it has to start softly and gradually get loud enough to wake me from a sound sleep; second, it has to be a tune I enjoy enough that I won’t tire of it too quickly; and third, since the clock radio is on my (retired) husband’s side of the bed, it has to be something he can at least tolerate for the 30 seconds or so it usually plays before he turns it off.
So, in the spirit of this week’s DPChallenge, I’m sharing my current wake-up call with you as a kinder, gentler alternative to military reveille. This tune has stood the test of time, as I’ve used it on a 5-days-per-week basis for the last two years or so. With best wishes for your own wake-up routine, I hope you will enjoy this recording of Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer by Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes.
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