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Bud Grossmann’s
Words of the Week
for the Week of
September 4, 2016
Previously unpublished fiction.
© 2016 by Bud Grossmann.
All Rights Reserved.

Car Show (2016)
  Car Show (2016)
© 2016 by Bud Grossmann


Sat., Sep 3, 2016

Cool and sunny earlier today in Galloway County and to the north. At the Pardeeville Car Show we lucked into a parking space about two blocks from the park—did you look the event up online, this year or when I’ve mentioned it in the past? Just as Dad and Celeste and I arrived, walking in, about 100 feet from the entry gate, on a sidewalk on a street closed off to all vehicles except those to be exhibited, we heard quite clearly, but way out ahead of us, a woman singer beginning The National Anthem over the event’s loudspeaker system. People walking out of Chandler Park—the show had opened at eight this morning—continued to stream toward and past us on the other side of the street, and, as of about two or three bars into the singing, no one ahead of us, going in, had paused to stand at attention, either. So C. and I took a few steps more, but then we noticed the high-flying flag catching a breeze between two big oaks by the lake, so we pulled up short and put our hats over our hearts. Dad was behind us and he either did the same with his hat or held a military salute, I didn’t look.

The performance was a cappella and contained the customary flourishes. When the singer was drawing out the “bannnnnnner yehhhhhhht waay-aaay-aaayve,” the Pardeeville noon whistle began to wail, and then another whistle, maybe a fire truck’s siren, sounded, and then one more, maybe even others, too, all heaping upon each other, louder and louder. With the whistles blaring, I calculated that the song was complete, so I put on my hat and turned to see whether Dad was with us or had perhaps stopped a ways back, soon as the soloist began, as I would expect.

Lo and behold, I beheld not just my father, several steps back, but also several dozen car show goers bunched up behind him along the sidewalk, presumably having been inspired by Dad’s good example to participate in the patriotic protocol traditional on such an occasion. We resumed our march, and the three of us in the Fischer-Teale family led our obedient troops forward through the gate.

When I was a kid, Fjord had a noon whistle, which we could hear at the farm, four miles north of town. Eventually, though, for some reason I never knew or no longer recall, the Fjord siren stayed silent at noon. If we are outdoors here at twelve o’clock nowadays, however, we can still hear a distant wailing, a summons for farmers to come in from the fields for their mid-day meal. I am not sure if that wail is from Wyocena, from Pardeeville, or possibly, in part, perhaps, from some phantom longing way far back in my ever-more-echoing skull.

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© 2016 by Bud Grossmann