Once upon a time, back in the ‘good old days’, my Mother was washing clothes, which back then was an outdoor affair. The washpot had to be kept boiling for hot water and the really dirty spots on our everyday clothes had to be battled out on a washboard. My Momma was blessed in that she had a washing machine that was motorized. I used to watch that old blade swishing back and forth until I was hypnotized. Of course, one yell from Momma was enough to break any spell no matter what or who had cast it.
This particular day had gone without distinction until Momma, carrying a bucketful of scalding hot water to pour into the washing machine, lost her footing a little as she stepped up on the wash stand and sloshed some of the scalding hot water onto my back. I had been digging at a doodle bug hole with a wiregrass straw and was in just the right place to get a good dosing of the scalding hot water and when it hit my back the pain was instantaneous. I shot out from under that wash shed like a cannon ball, screaming and I do mean screaming, bloody murder. I took off up the road toward Grandma Janie’s house with Momma right behind me. She did not have a prayer of catching me because I thought she had done this thing on purpose. I know this was a foolish assumption on my part, but at the time discretion seemed the better part of valor. I remember Grandma coming out on the front step to see what kind of calamity had taken place that could elicit such blood curdling screams as I was putting forth. She ran to grab me and snatched my shirt off but the damage was already done. Of course Momma was in tears as well as out of breath by the time she got there and dreadfully sorry of the mishap but no amount of apologizing could erase that instantaneous white flash of pain that is to this day seared in my memory.
If this had happened today, I would have had to have run into Grandmas house and into the room she was sitting in because the TV, the radio, the microwave, the indoor washing machine, the clothes dryer, the air conditioner and all the other frills of modern life would have kept her from hearing me until I was in her lap. We are bombarded by so much noise today it is no wonder the family next door can be axe murdered and the neighbors hear nary a sound.
I recently purchased a pair or hearing aids because I am nearly deaf, and though it was so beautiful to once again hear the birds sing in the morning, all the surrounding noise drove me to such a state of distraction that I blared out one morning at the breakfast table to my wife and children, “How in the world do you stand all this racket?” The refrigerator sounded like it was in my shirt pocket, the microwave sounded like it was about to take off and fly out the window, and the AC vent overhead was whooshing like a tornado (it sounded like a train).
I now put the hearing aids in when I awake each morning and listen to the natural world outside as it wakes up, and then respectfully place them back in their case and enjoy the quiet for the remainder of the day.
Oh, one other good thing about hearing aids; the gnats can buzz all they want to around your ear but they can’t get in.
They are held at bay by 3,500 dollars worth of modern technology. And these are the cheap ones.
FYI: A pair of 10-cent cork stoppers from Elmo’s Bait and Tackle would work just as well in this regard.