by Kathy Fischer-Brown
Take the song of the Eastern whip-poor-will, for example. Too many years had passed since I last heard its distinctive call, making for a completely unexpected moment of nostalgia one late spring evening about a year ago. Well over sixty years, to be precise.
|My sister and me (right) in the haystack, circa 1954|
On warm summer evenings, we’d sit outside in the newly mown grass on folding chairs with striped canvas slings and watch what seemed like hundreds of rabbits hopping along the edge of a copse of tall trees at the edge of the property. We had a small tractor that one of my older boy cousins liked to drive over the acres of tall grass, with me and his younger brother dangling our legs off the back platform. Afterwards, we’d rake up the cuttings and build a gigantic haystack, which provided hours of jumping and burrowing fun. Our next door neighbors behind a palisade fence were a family who owned the Freihoffer Baking Co. They had an apple orchard, and by summer’s end, there were more apples than they could shake a stick at. Around this time, the sweet cinnamon aroma of simmering apple sauce and apple pies in the oven filled the place.
And, of course, there were whip-poor-wills. Every evening and well into the night, I'd stay awake listening. A kid from The Bronx never heard such a thing.