By Jacob Hatcher
I don’t care if you’re sitting in the front yard leaning against a pickup truck, riding four wheelers somewhere on the back forty, or shooting guns two properties over; when the dinner bell rings you will hear it. Like a bag of Purina dog chow hitting a metal bowl, the dinner bell will ring out over whatever other noise there is in the county to let all God’s children know to get themselves to the table as quickly as they can. Centuries before cell phones and text messages were ever even conceived of, mothers and grandmothers had a sure fire way to reach out to whomever they needed to. All it took was walking out back, swinging the rope, and letting that dinner bell ring out as loud as it could.
I came along towards the end of their being a necessity, being born as I was towards the end of the 20th century, but I have enough experience with a dinner bell to know These phones sure are convenient, and I don’t think I would go back to a time without them, but I admit there are times I miss the dinner bell. Just the other night I was making supper for the kids while they played outside. They were just in the front yard chasing each other around, but as I opened the front door and hollered, “Suppers ready!” I wished I’d had a bell to ring, just for old times sake.
A thousand years from now, long after any memory of dinner bells have faded from the face of the earth, some geologist is going to dig up an old cast iron dinner bell. They will gather ‘round and ponder for days and days, imagining what sort of ritual this long last contraption may have been used for. “I bet it has some religious significance,” one will speculate.
“Probably part of a sacred ceremony of some sort,” his colleague will opine. And maybe they’ll be right; I have had some seriously spiritual experiences at the table shortly after the dinner bell was rung.