Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Siren

     Every small town has it's siren.  You know, that big horn on top of a pole that calls the firemen to the station when there is an emergency.  At least that's what we thought the purpose of the siren was....
     In our small town, the siren rings three times everyday.  I'm not sure how that tradition got started. Maybe when they got a new one they liked using it, and , because there weren't many emergencies, they decided to ring it every day.  Or maybe the history goes back further to the dinner bell, calling men from the fields for meal times. 
     Whatever the history, we hear that wonderful siren three times a day.  The first siren sounds at 7 a.m., a wake-up call to those who may be late for work.  I dreaded that siren when my kids were babies and I was trying to sleep in.  They would always wake up with that bell.  The second one sounds at noon.  Just a pleasant reminder that it is lunch time.  The kids know that we should be eating a meal when they hear that. The last siren goes off at 6 p.m., another supposed meal time.  It makes me wonder if they chose to ring the siren to remind people that they need to eat?  I guess, as my husband does, men get busy and forget about chow time.  They needed reminded to stop, take a break and get some nourishment.
     Whenever we have out of town guests, they always think there is some kind of emergency or something when they hear it.  We always have to explain the 7,12,6 schedule to them.  I have often wondered how I would know if there was a tornado during one of those hours.  I have gone to the basement on occasion thinking it was an emergency.
     I am very glad that I do not live near the siren.  I live about 5 blocks away from it, but I have noticed that there are a few houses right underneath of that pole.  Instead of "across the tracks", the poorer section of town is "under the siren".
     I have also learned not to depend on the siren.  You gradually get used to the sound and still need to set an alarm to get up in the morning.  If you don't set the alarm, you won't hear the siren.  Trust me, I've done it before and been late for an important appointment.  Not a real good excuse to your boss: "I didn't hear the siren."  Also, in the spring and fall when we change the clocks, the guy in charge of changing the clock on the siren is usually about two weeks late..........but you'll get that in a small town.

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