The Perpetual Ring Of The Salvation Army Bell

People come, people go. There are a few kids who trot around in the afternoon. We live in a quiet neighborhood.

Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s silent. An occasional truck comes through. And the UPS man always blows his horn when he makes a delivery. I’m not sure why he does that; he never rings the bell, he just drops packages at the door.

Y’know, it really isn’t so bad when you get used to it. (image public domain)

Not far away, there is a quarry. That’s only briefly noisy.  If you happen to notice the warning whistle, the distant explosions aren’t so bad. The dynamite’s thump is more startling when you miss that whistle. But even high explosives aren’t the source of the most frustrating sound in the neighborhood.

It’s Not Loud, It Is Irritating

I noticed it about a week ago, just about the time that I began to think about the holidays. I turned to look for the expected source, but it wasn’t there. Deciding it was just my mind playing tricks on me, I got in the car and drove off.

It happened again a few days later. Again, no one in sight. I started walking to my car again and the sound started. There was no one around. The neighborhood was empty, but I scanned the homes nearby to see who might be playing a joke on me. Nothing there but windows closed against the cold.

The sound became somewhat of a regular occurrence. Frankly, it troubled me. Then came the night it finally happened as my wife and I headed out to dinner. I heard it and she stopped walking. “Did you hear that?”, she asked. I felt a little better. At least if I were losing my mind, I was going to get to do it with someone fun.

Look, in its place, I don’t have objections. My neighborhood isn’t its place. ( Image by Dwight Burdette, CCbySA3.0)

Still, I wondered if she heard the same thing I did. “It’s a bell, right?” She nodded, “yeah, a Salvation Army bell.”

What a relief. I’d been hearing a Salvation Army bell so regularly near our house that I was getting afraid to take out the trash without a buck to throw in the kettle.

A breeze blew through and the bell rang again. We finally put the facts together and realized that someone has bought some sort of wind chime that has the exact tone of the bells used by the people who collect donations for the Salvation Army.

Something Will Have To Change

So now we know what we’re dealing with, but it doesn’t make the sound any less startling. Going outside is stressful. When the wind isn’t blowing, it isn’t so bad. But hearing the bell on a breezy day produces that automatic question in my mind – “do I have any change?” – even though my conscious mind knows that there’s no one waiting for me to hand them a donation. I hate that it keeps fooling me.

We will find the culprit in this matter. When we do, there will be no discussion. It doesn’t matter why a person would keep such a device near their home. The bell must go; this can not be left to the whims of another person. There will be a late night raid. The clapper will disappear from their bell.

Yes, it is theft. I’m going to call the mission a donation to the community’s piece of mind; that’s how I’ll justify it. There’s not jury in this country that will convict me.


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