Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Sounds Of Long Ago

    There is a stillness of winter which no other season has and it gives us time to sit and meditate and recall memories of long ago.
    We long for Spring when we can hear the birds singing and watch the flowers grow.
    I think of life on the farm, when I was a girl, and the sounds I'd like to hear again.
    I want to hear the roosters crowing for daylight, hens cackling, and dogs barking.
    And what a thrill to hear the first peepers in the spring! Their singing always had a lonesome sound. I'd like to hear again the first whippoorwill. My grandma would say, "The first one who hears the whippoorwill has to get the summer's wood."
    I always liked the mournful song of the dove and the katydids chirping. The old timers always said it was three months until frost from the time the katydids were heard.
    I like to hear raindrops pattering on the roof, the wind and distant thunder. Sometimes the wind whistling around the corner reminds me of what my teacher would say when the wind would whistle around the old schoolhouse ... "Ask yourselves who's been mean today?" The wind would answer, "You-u-u!"
    Once more I'd like to hear the hounds chasing a fox in the early morning hours. And I'd like to hear my daddy whistling again as he went about his work.
    How long has it been since you heard an echo? I would like to hear a boy I used to know go past yodeling.
    Seems one doesn't hear much whistling or honest laughter anymore or had you noticed?
    I'd also like to hear a train, pulled by a coal-burning engine, puffing up a grade. The railroad came through our farm and it was always a thrill to hear a train going by.
    I often wonder what the birds are saying when they sing their songs. Many years ago, Mr. McCanse, a contributor of "Over The Ozarks," asked what one thought about bird talk. It seems a little wren is saying, "I'm building me a sw-e-e-t little nest." When we planted corn, a redbird seemed to say, "Drop one, pick up two."
    A quail says, "Bob White, is your wheat ripe? No, not quite. Will it be tomorrow night? No, not quite."
    Perhaps if we all would live closer to nature, as we did when we were children, we would learn to listen and observe again. Our hearts would stay young and we would be closer to God.

Mellie Smith
March 2, 1970

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