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Sirens give me chills

March 3, 2008 - Jim Bartholow
Living on a hill in Marietta we hear lots of noises from around town. The train whistles sound loud, especially at 3 in the morning when one of the CSX coal trains move through the west side. If it's that loud from our vantage point across the Muskingum River near Marietta Memorial Hospital, I can't imagine what the whistle sounds like on Harmar Street where the train travels. The same goes for the trains through Williamstown, which go right down the middle of Second Street. But one sound that gives me chills every time I hear it, are the volunteer fire department alert sirens. I think the one we hear the most is Williamstown, but I think we can hear Oak Grove's too. The reason I get chills is that it's a sound I associate with air raid sirens I heard as a kid growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland. I can remember we had drills in school with the siren going off (it was really loud because my classroom was right beneath it) and all of us getting under our desks in case of attack. At that time, we hadn't seen the film of what a nuclear attack could do, so we thought taking shelter under the desks might help. At least we felt a bit more secure. But once you've seen films from Hiroshima or Nagasaki, you know these exercises were pretty futile in terms of saving our lives in case of an attack. Anyway, it's funny how your mind associates things. Sirens and bomb drills. A pleasurable bit of association for me is cigar smoke. I associate it with baseball because my earliest recollection of going to Indians' games at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland was with my aunt. I think I was probably 7 or 8 at the time, and the air was thick with cigar smoke. Now, there's no smoking. But back then, the stadium air was filled with it.

March madness As I write this it's March 3 and the NCAA tournament selection day is still two weeks away. What's up with this? I like hoops hysteria to be over in time for baseball's opening day, which this year is March 31. Somehow, the powers that be have stretched out the season. Why? I'm sure there's money in the equation, which just irks me. I hope March Madness reverts to its earlier format, but I don't hold out much hope.


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