Dinner Bell

It's a dinner bell now. Once it was a fire bell. My parents farm is in the Key Community. It was called that because everyone had a key on their mail box. I don't know why. I don't recall as a child many doors being locked in White County. Maybe back then it was some kind of joke like, “the doors open; if not the key is in the mailbox.” Perhaps it became a farmer fad, and eventually people just started nailing the keys to the mailbox – don't know. It was a small safe community then. They put out their own fires. You heard the bell ringing and you ran with a shovel to the sound. I got to go to a fire once when I was little. We arrived as the blaze was almost out. It looked like acres of scored earth to a kid's memory - probably wasn't. We've a volunteer fire departments now with actual red engines. The bells are gone, they use cell phones now. When the bell rings now, it's mom calling the grandchildren in from the fields for biscuits and Tennessee pride.

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