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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Toadstools and neighborhood sounds

  • These wet days have certainly been good for toadstools.
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  • These wet days have certainly been good for toadstools. As I walk along Wildcat Boulevard each morning, I spot toadstools of every color, shape, and size in people's lawns. It seems as if the toadstool spores have been waiting for a wet spring to jump out of the ground.
    I cannot tell a toadstool from a mushroom and don't even try. But I do know there are lots of them at this time.
    Sitting on the back deck is especially enjoyable this time of year. It is cool and the sky after all the rains seems as if it has been cleansed and the stars all shined by angels. I have been paying attention to the neighborhood sounds as I sit on the back deck.
    One night, I heard the familiar ring of horseshoes to discover a neighbor and his friend were having a friendly game. My father-in-law loved to pitch horseshoes. When you became a member of the family, you were expected to play dominoes, pitch horseshoes and toss washers.
    When we first moved to our current home 20 years ago, there were about a dozen young kids in the neighborhood. Since then, they have grown and moved on. For several years, there were no kids. Now some younger families have moved nearby. The sounds of kids playing may be one of the most precious sounds in the world. The sound of a ball on a bat or the whirl of wheels of a skateboard or roller skates has a special meaning to most of us.
    I like seeing the kids walking by, backpacks hanging near the ground, going to or from school each day. Seeing them saunter along is almost exciting.
    But the most precious of all is the laughter of happy children at play. If God has elevator music in heaven, children's laughter may be heard right after angels singing old time gospel tunes.
    Of course, there are the annoying sounds of mowers cutting grass and weed eaters trimming around bushes, but their sound is not too bad when you consider they are making the neighborhood look better.
    Take a walk, watch for toadstools, listen for the sounds of your neighborhood, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
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