When I was a young child I was completely free to roam … as long and as far as I wished. I was not getting “special treatment”. All of my siblings had the same freedom. We had only a single constraint. We HAD to be within earshot of “THE BELL.”
The bell was a smallish, brass model with a clear sound that carried….well, to be honest, none of us had the nerve to actually test how far that bell carried, for failing to respond to the bell was sure to have dire consequences. My parents were adamantly against the more common method of calling in children, which involved the mother standing in the open doorway of her house and calling, at the top of her lungs, the names (usually first and middle) of each of her children.I personally found it a great way to learn the names of the children in my neighborhood, but, I digress. So, at day’s end, when our “roaming about the country (or the yard)” gave way to supper, homework and bedtime, Mom would ring the bell and we would drop whatever we were doing and head in.
This afternoon I spent about two hours trudging about my woods, hunting hickory nuts, playing with my ever constant companions on my hunt (dog and two cats) and generally enjoying the afternoon. We managed to cover nearly five of the 7 ½ acres. I was happily gathering a nice stash of the nuts from beneath a tree I came upon, when I heard my soft spoken husband, calling my name. I responded, letting him know where I was and he replied that he would be starting supper in just a few minutes.
I promised to “be right in” and was overcome with memories of my youth. I can assure you, I was in the house in time to enjoy supper, hot from the oven, but I couldn’t get over thinking that I need to get John a bell to ring….I can get lost for hours in the woods and it is probably a good idea to have an ingrained Pavlov’s dog behavior type trigger to bring me in.