Friday, February 28, 2014
TALES FROM THE BAYOU: The Sounds Of Home
I'm a very visual person so I was quite surprised by the list I was able to come up with when working on this week's bayou tale. Some of the sounds on my list I still hear today while others were only heard during my childhood and will live forever in the corners of my mind.
1. BONANZA THEME SONG...my mother loved westerns. I mean REALLY loved westerns. So I knew every week when Little Joe, Hoss, Adam, and Ben Cartwright was on the television I would be humming that theme song for days afterwards.
2. GRAND OLD OPRY music...my mother also loved country music. I don't mean the contemporary artists of today but ones like Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones...you get the idea. Why I didn't even realize there WAS anything other than the Grand Old Opry style of music until I was way into my teens.
3. ACCORDIONS & FIDDLES...my father was extremely proud of his Cajun heritage so if I wasn't listening to old country artists, I was listening to what people these days call Zydeco music. My sister doesn't care for it much but I LOVE the sound of accordions and fiddles when I've got the time to listen.
4. CICADAS, GRASSHOPPERS & CRICKETS...summer nights on the bayou would be filled with those sounds...sometimes loud enough to drown out conversations but mostly more like white noise in the background of my childhood. I even had a funeral service for a grasshopper once but that's a story for another time.
5. WINDOW FANS...this sound is probably one of my favorites because Janet and I would play a game all summer long with one particular fan at our house. One of us would stand in front of the fan on the inside of the house and the other would be outside. Just like the distorted voices you could hear through those childhood tin can telephones, my sister and I would take turns shouting into the fan blades from the outside and then fall into giggle fits as the rippling, distorted voice echoed into the house from the whirling blades. You can do the same thing with a oscillating floor fan but there was danger involved in our game because there was no protective covering on the back of the fan so you never got too close to those blades.
6. TRAFFIC FROM THE HIGHWAY...when my grandmother was still alive, I would sometimes visit her house that sat next to one of the two main roads leading through our little town. At night I would lie with the bedroom windows open and listen to the sound of traffic swooshing past Grandma's house. I would wonder what faraway places all those people were traveling to and eventually be lulled to sleep by the big rigs passing by.
7. DINNER BELLS...I grew up during a time of sitting on front porches on lazy summer days, knowing your neighbors by their first name, not having to lock your front door at night, and realizing when Mother sounded that dinner bell you had about 5 minutes or less to drop whatever you were doing and get home. She didn't have to shout and beware the consequences for ignoring it but there was still a comfort in hearing the sound of that bell.
If I think real hard this list could continue to grow with the sounds echoing from my distant childhood. Some of the sounds are not ones I would care to hear again but we all have the freedom to choose how our past will be remembered. I choose to cherish the good sounds of my youth and let those memories shine a compassionate light on the darker days. After all, what kind of writer would I be if I can't spin a positive tale for my readers?