Winter 2016 Feature Story: Alarms, Tolls and Jingles

By on October 6, 2016

Story by Jon Osborn
Illustration by Chris Smith

An excerpt from Alarms, Tolls and Jingles…For nearly two decades, I’ve wrestled out a living as a beat cop. Before dawn, the clock’s insistent alarm rouses me and sends me to wailing sirens, angry shouts and crashing metal. After 12 hours of cacophony in a patrol car, what I desire most is peace and quiet. No chance of that, though, especially during summer – the season when crime rates and pandemonium reach a fever pitch. Come October, however, the weather cools, society settles down, and another sound awakens something deep inside me.

Long before honking horns and buzzing alarms, bells signaled the arrival of ships and summoned hopeful souls to churches. Prior to speeding cars and rushing trains, bells announced the passage of buggies and sleighs. The pastoral tones of bells also marked the presence of sportsmen and dogs amid the aspens and scrub oak. While modern wing shooters might prefer digital collars, one bell has a story no beeper can rival.

After serving on a sleigh in a previous life, this bell spent a purgatory amid the musty confines of an old shoebox. These days, though, it swings freely around my setter’s neck, and its timeless tones echo throughout our secret coverts each fall.

Read the rest of the story in the Winter 2016 Issue of Upland Almanac.

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