Reflecting on those familiar sounds

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2022

By Steve Stricker

One day last week at daybreak, as I opened the inner door to my patio, a few meters away my deer buddy, “Sister” was nibbling on my “bird” feed.  We have been friends since she was a wee fawn, knows and trusts me, but the lock on the outer screen door is rather loud and as I turned it, wondered if it would frighten her – “thunk,” not even a flinch as it was a familiar and safe sound for her, and me … stepped out, chatted, bid her a swell day, and she said, “You too, Steve’o.”

Before Noon Mass, I try to get to church at least an hour early, setup the altar for Fr. Mark, then visit quietly with our Lord, “absence of sounds” – my favorite thing and starts my day right.  As I opened the Tabernacle door to count hosts, I contemplated the “heavy smooth thunk” of its lock and lock on my patio door, both reassuring to me.

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This led me to think about “those sounds” that are so warm and familiar to me, like the sound of a plane flying overhead, or lawnmower, which has never changed. When my hero mom (Gert) died four days after her 95th birthday in southern Missouri, I rented a U-Haul and brought back to Oxford some things from home, bedroom suite which included her chest of drawers and handles that when you let go of them make that wonderful sound – as does her China cabinet door when opened – both of which I open just to hear that sound which transports me back to our house and a safe, secure time.

These sounds reminded me of others in our home that were so wonderful – the chain light switch over the bathroom sink that made that sound as it always took three pulls for the light to come on, the noise when the mirrored cabined door under it was opened, the back screen door spring when opened, then the door would always slam twice and made a great sound.  

The single door into our garage sagged and as you put your shoulder into it to open, made a sticking noise, the large double doors swung out left and right, hinges squeaked, and were shut with a large board that fit into a notch on each door and when dropped – yeah, wonderful sound.

Then there was that one stair step that always squeaked going up or down, door under the steps where Gert stored her dust mops etc. had to tug on to open and making that sound, the rump, rump, rump of the large fan daddy put in the dining room window that pulled air into the house with windows open, if the kitchen door was closed and the hinges squeaked loudly and popped when shut.

Gert had her washer and drier on our back porch and the sound of clothes washing, then drying were so wonderful and I always think of it when washing and drying my own clothes in my house here in Oxford.

Like my patio door lock, I smile at the sounds now in my own house that bring me comfort – of course Gert’s stuff (so healing) a kind of “swoosh” as I open my front door, sticking noise on the fridge door, teapot when water is at full boil, AC and heater as they come on (always so thankful), garage door as it opens and door outside as it shuts, my; 1971 MGB-GT clock as it makes that “tick” sound while drawing juice from the battery and fuel pump “ticking” when I turn the ignition on, grinding noise as I turn the key, engine (thankfully) firing and four-cylinder engine making a sewing machine noise, like Gert’s old Singer sewing machine that I have, the noise Robins make at my birdbaths and doves as they greet me in the morning to feed them and my squirrels.

That cat, Jag, who adopted and trains me, MEOWS loudly in the morning almost exactly 5:00 am every day (Christmas, Saturday…) to let me know it’s time to get up (not a sound I like) – how does he do that? the sound when I turn my TV on, shower door, that “pop” as I open a bottle of wine, my tool chests, metal to metal clink of tools, air compressor, etc.

The sound of my 1964 Land Rover Series IIA four-cylinder engine when I started it for the first time (each time) after working on this classic Brit for years and it ran so smooth (YAY) – the simple thin “Birmabright” aluminum doors on the Landy as they bang shut, and so many other wonderful noises that bring me peace – do y’all have these as well??  

Peace Out and GO REBELS – beat Auburn today at 11:00 am in the Vaught, ESPN – awesome sound forthcoming from our Ole Miss Pride of the South Marching Band – “Are you ready?!”  Oh…an Eagle makes that screeching sound like fingernails on a blackboard…if you can find one – just saying…. 

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at,