November 1, 2004

Where's the cow bell?!!

Years ago my oldest sister, June, had an old cow bell. Back in the forties, she used it to cheer my brother-in-law's football team on to victory, deafening the people all around her, I am sure. I often wondered about that old bell...sometimes I'd imagine it hanging from an old Gurnsey's neck as she chewed her cud. But most likely it was purchased as a noise-maker for sporting events.

I'm not sure where June kept it during the years to follow, but being the frugal person she was, she found other uses for the bell once Dave's football years were behind him. Every August, as her family prepared to go to camping at Stover, June unearthed it and packed it in her suitcase with other essentials. On those August days long ago, June's bell had two purposes:
(1) to call her old football player home from fishing for their mid afternoon dinner
(2) for campfire, when heated discussions needed cooling.

Campfire brings back wonderful memories. We'd sit in a big circle singing old songs (I've Been Working on the Roadroad & Tell Me Why) and hymns of faith. Stories were told that would have us laughing out of our chairs. When conversations ensued that drew a lot of controversy, it was then June would ring the bell, or someone would say "Where is the cow bell?!" Although it was partly a joke, years later I would think in our efforts to avoid controversy, maybe we had missed out. Sameness was celebrated more than individuality.

Lately I have been thinking about that old bell. As this election gets nastier, I am wishing it would all go away. My children passionately disagree over the election. While I really agree that a good exchange of differences can be exhilarating, lately it feels a lot more about other things than politics. It's just a place where everyone vents but hides their real issues about something totally unrelated. I am tired of it all, it's becoming where is that old cow bell??