Have you ever thought of how particular sounds may bring back memories of yesterday? It may be rainfall on a tin roof, a dog barking off in the distance, a crow cawing, or the closing of a door. Whatever the sound, I'm sure you have memories associated with it.
Last weekend and for me it was the closing of a screen door. My friend and I were getting ready to head back home after a day at her lake house, and I allowed the screen door to her back porch to close with no effort other than the springs attached to the hinges.
It wasn't a loud slapping sound, but I had taken two or three steps away from the door when the light tap-tap of a wooden door closing against a wooden door frame came to my ears. I have no idea of why I noticed it, but notice it, I did. In a split second I was five or six years old and headed out the screen door of our old wood frame house.
In midstride I stopped, and it was almost as if I could hear my mom rattling pots and pans in the old kitchen. I could hear the distant lowing of cows down in the bottom pasture and the rumble of the old Farmall tractor as my dad did some work in front of the house.
This cabin, which I fell in love with the very first time I lay eyes upon it, reminds me so much of the house I spent the first seven years of my life in. The house I was seeing in my memory was the same house that I scared myself to death in after playing with matches. Kitchen matches are those that "strike anywhere", you know. And I proved the claim.
No, I didn't burn the house down although had I not managed to put the grass fire out as quickly as I did, there may have been a different ending in my memory. As it was, the summer was hot and dry, and grass was crispy and..., well, dead. I didn't expect the flame to get so big so quickly, and it was a good thing I had big feet and stomped it out in short order. That moment of panic taught me a valuable lesson, though.
As I was saying, my friend's cabin was built with wood..., I mean, real wood; the kind that once upon a time actually measured one by six or two by four. This was wood that had real knot holes and real splinters. Wood that when put together by hard working hands gave you a feeling of a real accomplishment. Of course, those who build houses today own hard working hands, but much of today's material is pre-constructed. I don't think there is anything in this cabin that is pre-constructed other than the steel roof.
I can't think of any place I'd rather spend time than at her cabin. Cypress trees stretch upward, and as the sun sinks in the west...., well, there just ain't a painting anywhere that remotely matches the paint strokes God places in the sky.
A pair of hawks built a nest in one of those tall, moss-draped cypress trees. Hummingbirds, cardinals, wrens, sparrows.., in fact, it seems like every kind of bird native to north Louisiana visits the bird feeders my friend keeps filled with seeds and sweetened/colored water.
In fact, I was at the cabin one day without my friend when a humming bird was looking for a sip of the "nectar" usually found in the hummingbird feeder. Now, I'm not much on birds unless it's frying up some quail or chicken. My friend, however, never fails to provide for our feathered friends, and this particular bird seemed to know that.
Regardless, the feeder was empty, and this particular humming bird would fly up to the fake flower, stick his beak in, pull back out, and turn toward me as if saying, "Hey, dude! What's with the empty feeder here! You're fallin' down on your job! Get with it, okay?" What struck me as amazing is this bird did this maneuver numerous times. Always turning and looking right at me. Kinda made me ashamed that I didn't do anything.
Anyway and back to the sounds that bring back memories, I cannot thank my friend enough for inviting me to visit her at this place of great serenity. Sure, it takes a lot of work to keep the place up, but once the work is done and the sounds of peace and relaxation takes over..., well, there just ain't no other place like it. Well, except those stored in the vault of my memory.
Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs on Friday in the Minden Press-Herald.