Linenger's Letters to his Son

February 2, 1997
I have been sleeping like a puppy"

Dear John:

Talked with Grandma L. and Unkie Ken today. Eight minute communication pass. We were flying over China. The signal picked up by a ground station in Siberia. Then to mission control in Moscow, who relayed it via satellite to the space center in Houston. Onward to my brother's and mother's homes for a three way chat. I'm impressed. Cold in Michigan.

Mom was concerned about my sleep. "Are you sleeping better?", she asked. A normal mother-type concern, along with "you look so skinny, eat more!, "why don't you ever call?", and "you forgot to send a thank-you to your third Aunt, once removed, in China, for your birthday card". But why the word, better?

I replied that I have been sleeping like a puppy (because of you, John, I've dropped the patently untrue phrase "sleeping like a baby"...) the whole time since I've been in space. I'm one of the lucky ones who feel no differently in space than on the ground. One-hundred percent normal. She replied, "Well that's not what I heard. I heard you really had a rough time sleeping at first."

I will never fully understand where mothers get their information. It's a running joke between Cousin Tom in San Diego and myself. "Hey Jer, heard from my Mom who heard from your Mom that you bought a new Saint Bernard, who ran away the next day". Never owned a dog in my life. And vice-versa. "Heard Tommy quit his job and is getting married." If you knew Tom, the perennial bachelor, you'd know this will never happen.

But this tops all! I'm in space. Sleeping just great. And I haven't heard visitors knocking on the door lately. But she heard from someone that I wasn't sleeping so good. Brother Ken chimes in: "Mom, that was me who said I wasn't sleeping well". Ken's humor. The mystery remains.

Anyway, my son, the lesson is this: don't believe everything you hear. Unless it's your pa-pa talking. And know that your mother and father will always be thinking of you, worrying over you, and making sure that you get your rest. You can count on it.

Good night, little John.


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