The Sound Of Silence


It was still daylight when I got home from work yesterday. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were a different story. It was bedtime when I arrived at home on all three of those days. I guess you could say I enjoy seeing our home in the light of day. Today as I drove up, I was startled to see the number of weeds surfacing in our front yard.

I guess the formula is the mix of rain and warm weather. With little effort it is: “Gusto! You’ve got weeds!” How would the General express it? She’d probably say: “ It looks like we don’t care how it looks”. We’ve lived together long enough that I can script it to the letter. That’s exactly what she would say. “It looks like we don’t care how it looks”.

I can also mimic her facial expression as the words roll out her mouth. She’d then go into a subtle, but civil tirade (isn’t that an oxymoron) of how a man’s house could be his castle, but not if it looks like a slum clearance district. Just for the record, she can give you examples.

I think it is bi-weekly Lecture #219. It includes my need to get rid of a rusting wheelbarrow, a discarded and rusting metal table and several other items that she ALWAYS lists when she’s giving me the “what for”. You’d think I couldn’t do anything right. The same way my mother used to tell me: “There is no excuse to being dirty, soap and water are cheap”, the General has the pizzazz to make it sting. I guess the part that hurts the worse is my understanding that there is an element of truth to her criticism (okay, so it’s a 100% accurate).

I definitely had the thought when I arrived at home yesterday: “I guess I should be grateful the General is in Cat Spring taking care of grandchildren. If she were home, she probably would have eradicated the weeds in the front yard in the same manner she eradicated both the weeds and the grass in the back yard”. Honestly, there has to be a better way. She used RoundUP – Not Smart! Hopefully, I can get the lawn service out in the next couple of days. It really looks dreadful.

So the explanation plays out like this, the General has only been home one day in the preceding seven. For all practical purposes, I’ve been gone from home as well. Walking into the house in the light of day yesterday, I was startled to see a roly poly bug or two (okay, so there could have been more than that). Where did they come from and how did they get in the house? It is a mystery to me. Actually, as I looked around the house, it was all a mystery.

It didn’t exactly look like a storm had come through, but it didn’t look the way it normally looks. Do you remember the storyline from Goldilocks and the three bears? “Then Father Bear looked at his bowl of porridge and saw the spoon in it and he said in his great big growly voice, ‘SOMEBODY HAS BEEN EATING MY PORRIDGE’. Then Mother Bear saw that her bowl had a spoon in it, and said in her quiet voice: ‘Somebody has been eating my porridge’. Little Bear looked at his porridge bowl and said in his small squeaky baby voice: ‘Somebody has been eating my porridge, and has eaten it all up…’

Don’t mistaken what I’m attempting to communicate. Our home wasn’t cluttered. The General doesn’t do clutter with the exception of permitting it to surface in my office. She normally eventually brings that to my attention. Sometimes she takes a picture of it with the veiled threat that she is going to go public. Would she really do it? I can truthfully answer, “I hope not”. I am not about to double-dog- dare her. She’d have it posted before I could count to three.

Walking through the house yesterday, it didn’t look right. I went to the entry hall closet and removed the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the front room, entry way, dinning room and kitchen.

I probably shouldn’t confess this, but there are days I come home from work, look around and wonder: “What did the General do all day?” Now I think I’ve figured it out. She’s cleaned the house. I’m not used to coming into the house with the sense that it doesn’t feel right. When the General is at home, it reflects her handiwork. There is something favorable to be said about the way it looks. If she’s here, it is clean. If it’s not clean, she’s cleaning it. It doesn’t ever feel the way it felt last night.

So how did our house get dirty with no one home? I don’t know the answer, but I got out the vacuum and attempted to restore order. It isn’t as good as the General can do, but at least I should get honorable mention for trying. Oh, I almost forgot, the General doesn’t do “honorable mention”. She operates on the premise: “Get it right or do it again.” She’s a no nonsense kind of gal.

Finally, the house was vacuumed, the lights were dimmed and now it was time to relax. It was then that I heard it. The sound was disturbing. The sound filled the house. It was the sound of silence!

Perhaps nothing is as eerie or as unsettling as the sound of silence. Do you remember Simon and Garfunkel? Do you remember the lyrics to “the sound of silence?”

“Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

‘Neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed

By the flash of a neon light…”

The silence throughout the house cried out. I heard it before I saw it. The sound was deafening. Then I saw it and understood. It was the clocks. All three grandfather clocks had sounded their last chime. All three clocks needed to be wound. They had run down.

Carefully and methodically, I wound them again and recovered the tick-tock and sporadic chimes of the grandfather clocks that fill our home with something other than silence.

All My Best!



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