Sounds of an earlier era could be soothing by Bob Karolevitz The alarm clock jangled its cacophonous wake-up call.
Overhead I heard a helicopter making an early-morning mercy flight as it transported an ailing patient between hospitals.
Far away a farm neighbor�s dog was barking at who knows what. Like the alarm clock, it was a sleep-disturbing sound, just enough to keep me from grabbing another 40 winks before I rolled out to face the challenges of another day.
As I lay in bed, I got to thinking about the happier noises of my youth, when airplanes didn�t have jet engines and so-called singers didn�t scream out questionable lyrics to keep from being lost in the din of electric-enhanced guitars.
In my reverie I re-created the clop, clop, clop of hooves as horses pulled delivery wagons past our house. I day-dreamt of a strange tiller-steered electric car which noiselessly went down our street. No sounds there!
I could hear again the tinkling of milk bottle banging against one another as the dairyman brought the day�s supply to our porch even before our parents were up.
Those were the sounds of another era, and I�ve got to admit that I enjoyed the remembering more than I would have the 40 winks that the barking dog cost me.
I recalled the clanging of the recess bell calling us back to class and the beckoning music of the merry-go-round when the carnival came to town � but I thought most of the railroad trains of yesteryear which left indelible memories for me.
For instance, there was the melancholy steam whistle which announced the arrival of both passenger and freight trains. (Yes, Virginia, there really WERE passenger trains in South Dakota then.) The diesel horn is not the same, incidentally.
I can still hear the conductor shouting �All aboard� as the engine belched steam, signalling it was time to go. Along with the newsboys and other curious urchins, I stood at the depot and marvelled as the giant locomotive chug, chugged in to action.
Sometimes the drive wheels slipped on the iron rails, causing an extra huff or two as the cars started moving. In the ?30s it was said that grasshoppers piled up on the tracks, making them slick so that the engine had trouble getting traction _ but that�s another story.
As the train went out of sight around the bend, I knew the passengers could hear the clickety-clack as wheels hit each joint of the rails beneath them. I heard them, too, in my imaginary ride.
Not all the sounds of those youthful years which I conjured up were favorable ones, however. There was the gosh-awful fire siren which woke folks up, interrupted the day at noon and sent out its shrill blast at six to announce supper time. At least I think that was when it echoed across the town.
Then there was the mournful tolling of the bell. In the church steeple which meant another funeral was taking place. Also I never like the noisy static which always interrupted the Amos�n Andy show on the Crosley radio.
Ah, yes, it was fun to reminisce about days gone by as I lazed in the bed. And that�s when I heard another sound which ended my musing.
It was Phyllis calling out: �Get up, you lazy bones. Breakfast is ready!�
� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz