By Doris Schroeder
There are certain sounds that I remember through my early years that will always bring certain things to my mind even today. It’s probably because as a child, my mind was still open to learn new things that I needed to understand. For instance:
The simple sound of the wind whistling through the front storm door on windy days always takes me back to our days on the farm. There were five upstairs bedrooms in the old farmhouse in which we lived and I was the only one who occupied one. The others slept downstairs. The window panes upstairs were probably not completely caulked. On windy days, the sound captured my imagination completely and put it to work, so I spent a lot of time making up stories with my pencil and Big Chief pencil tablet. It was fascinating to me that I could be transported to other places with a little imagination.
At a certain time in the evening, I could hear the lonely wail of the train that traveled across the country about half a mile from our farm…visions of faraway places with strange-sounding names would come to mind from the books in the school library I had read, and in my imagination, they were real.
In the back of my mind, I would envision the hoboes of the day who had hopped a freight in order to go to some other place where they hoped to find work or at least some temporary job where they could earn a living. Sometimes they would walk up the hill to our farm looking for work and my parents would sometimes give them some chores to do for a little food.
The slow grating clatter of the windmill as it rotated its blades ‘round and ‘round, causing cold, fresh water to come gushing from the pipe into the stock tank was a comfort. What a refreshing way to get a quick drink of ice-cold water as it refueled my dreams of sailing the ocean someday.
Occasionally through the sounds of living, I would hear the plaintive wail of a coyote in the distance, and it would lend a poignant note into my existence. I would wonder “Is he lonely or sad, does he wonder what is coming next in this life?”
When I was awakened in the early morning hours with the big farm rooster crowing out his good morning…“er,er,er errr!” I glanced out the upstairs window to the crows in the shelterbelt planning out their day “Caw, caw!” I wondered what they were planning as I heard my mother get up and light the fire in the stove. Soon I heard the coffee pot bubbling away on the kerosene stove and I enjoyed the sound of life beginning on the farm yard.
As I walked down the winding stairway of our house on the farm, I felt a certain peace within my being. Certainly, life had a tender simplicity about it, but it was something wonderfully uncomplicated. I had not yet learned all the things God wanted me to know and, I wondered, would I ever?
I opened the door with the oval glass and glanced over the farm yard. Our two dogs, Shep and Spot were usually patiently waiting by the door for any leftover food from our meal and would gobble it down happily.
We had no television and little radio. The ring of the phone was usually an exciting sound that we looked forward to because it was someone to talk with, however briefly.
The sound of a car chugging down the country road or better still, coming up the driveway was always a welcome time. The mailman delivering our mail on the road was a time of great anticipation and someone coming up the driveway was a joyous occasion, no matter who it was.
The Watkins man coming to show us his wares was a time of joy for me…sometimes Mom bought some fruit or root beer powder we could actually mix with water and enjoy like soda pop!
Going ahead many years to the house Hubby and I planned and live in today.
When we first moved in, the year was 1967. Two or three times a week, I could hear the milkman as he delivered milk to our porch and it felt like the lap of luxury! The sound of the school bus with its grinding brakes always made me smile about the neighbor kids riding to their place of learning.
But alas, nowadays there is no milkman deliveries. The school bus that drives by does not have squeaky brakes. I can put the news on anytime on the TV and radio, even though the news is not always good.
We do, however, have some One who never changes and is still looking out for us and will always listen when we have a problem. He is someone we can hear in the wind blowing or in the silence and it gives great comfort in hearing the sounds in the world He has created. What a joy to still hear the sounds of living!