The Sound of Noon

29 08 2012

Noon (Painting II)

The sound of noon was the same every single day of the week, Sunday as well as the other work-a-day  six, every single month of every single year I lived in that small town in a slight  valley  not far from the cool brown of Gyp Creek in the middle of wheat fields, in the middle of a state, in the middle of the country in the middle of the ’40’s  and ’50’s.

That sound was as dependable as the cycles of nature, it  never had a sick day, never  took a vacation and it never malfunctioned.

Our Town  Whistle   blew   reliably  each and every  high noon with a shrill and arrogant audacity,  mounted on the tower, powered by an air compressor, sounding like a cross between a steam  organ on steroids and the shriek of a banshee, breaking the working day asunder, signaling  that half the work  was over.   On Adams  St.   teachers  were compelled to lay aside  books and send the  town kids home  and the country kids down to the lunch room,  some for hot meals, some for cold.  Lucky ones got to spend a penny on the candy jars in one of the two grocery stores on Main street.   Elsewhere  a workman laid down his work, picked up his lunch bucket and  headed  for the closest shade. A little further out from town a farmer untied the bandana round his neck and wiped the tyranny of the field from his face and headed on up  towards the house.

On any given  Sunday that sound  reminded the Preacher that a chicken  dinner was also a needful thing.

Every once in a while that jolting sound of noon came crashing, careening through the stillness of  night, tearing dreams apart  and wrenching  us all out of bed and down the stairs in a frantic  attempt to get the furniture up on blocks out of the reach of the  cold dark waters rushing, breakneck,  down on us from Gyp creek.

On those nights  the  sound of noon became our one  thin  shield against calamity.

I get back to that sweet-smelling land sometimes and drench my ears in the sounds along country roads; the rustling sunflowers, the whispering cottonwoods, the sound of a breeze so slight in the fields it almost isn’t there. Later hot and dusty, I wander down  towards the fountain on the square for a drink of cool water.

And once again I hear it.

The sound of noon  remains there still, unmuted and fierce,  the audible  promise of community still loud and clear,  still unchanged,  full of ear rending clarity, clanging out it’s song of  one for all and all for one  to  any body who wants  to listen.




2 responses

30 08 2012

Yes we do….

29 08 2012
Judith Robl

How well we both remember…..

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