While on my walk this morning, I heard a noise off in the distance that kept getting louder and louder. I found myself looking around to see where the noise was coming from, but couldn’t tell. I probably looked like someone from an old war movie when they tilted their head back as far as it would go and shielded their eyes from the sun to see if they could find any planes in the sky that might bomb them. But, all I saw was a blue sky full of white clouds. It was an exceptionally beautiful morning, but was dampened by an unknown roar in the background that was getting a bit louder with each step I took. What could it be? Living in a farming community at this time of the planting season, I thought it could be a plane spraying the fields with pesticides, to kill the bugs, or herbicides, to kill the weeds. Or, was it coming from the motorcycle shop down the block? After all, every so often, the owner takes a bike out on the street to test drive it at full speed to make sure everything is working correctly. And that noise can get terribly loud!
There wasn’t another person on the street. It’s too early for people to be out if they don’t have a job to go to, and too late, if they do. One thing that the loud noise reminded me of is a car that makes a lot of loud noise as it passes our house at 4:20 a.m. every weekday morning. Why do I think the driver purposely “guns” the motor as he passes our house? I have often wondered where that person works, since he has to leave so early. Maybe he has to open a restaurant for breakfast in some other town, or has a very early shift at a hospital in Columbus.
Just as it had begun to sound a little quieter, the noise came right back as loud as ever. That’s when I decided I should cut my walk short and head for home. If a bomb was going to drop, I preferred to be home, instead of out on the street by myself. My usual walk is in the same directions every day. But, today, with turning around and heading home, everything looked a little different. Houses that I had seen only their east side, now I was seeing their west side, and vice versa. I saw a couple of side porches I hadn’t noticed before. Porches with flowers in pots on the sides of the steps and hanging baskets full of luscious blooms. A couple of other houses had doors painted those different colors which is a mark of newly remodeled homes these days. There was a yellow, and also an aqua door, that caught my eye.
As I approached my corner, I could tell that the roar was beginning to fade again. That was a good thing. I have too many bad memories popping back in my head from when I was very young and really did fear being bombed. Those were the days when WWII was going on. It was before TV, so all our news came from the radio that we listened to every evening. I was only in the 2nd grade, but feared it just the same. Several times in these past many years, I have heard a loud noise that reminded me of the war movies I should never have gone to see. I didn’t like having to sit through those newsreels with President Truman talking endlessly about the war, either. You wouldn’t think there would be anyone still around who fears the sound of planes in the air. But I still do.
Since thinking of how that bad noise affected me, I thought about how there can be good noise as well. As simple as the timer on my kitchen stove when it lets me know when the pizza is done or when I should take a cake out of the oven. I remember being in a home where there was a baby upstairs and all of a sudden I could hear words that sounded like “goo, goo” and “gaa, gaa.” They had a baby monitor on and when the baby woke up, she didn’t cry, she just made sounds until someone came up to get her. I used to babysit with that same baby at my home, and when she was learning to talk, one of her first words was “George.” When she would hear him come in the door, she would start saying, “George? George?” To her, the sound of the door opening meant she was going to get to eat her baby food. That’s because he’s the one who fed her, while I finished fixing our lunch.
I never did figure out where that loud noise was coming from. George told me that it had to have been the crop dusting airplanes, because a lot of the fields that line the highway do not have marks in the crops showing that the dusting had been done by a big piece of heavy machinery. So, just relax the next time you are alone and some loud noise scares you. I don’t think we need to worry about being bombed here in the farmland of Ohio. I certainly hope not, anyway.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.