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Rated: E · Fiction · Experience · #2223204
The Writer's Cramp - June 1, 2020
Noon Whistle

The noon whistle was always on time. In fact, you set your watch by it. Back when Black Butte was a big coal mining town, the noon whistle was the signal for lunch. Miners took a break. Shop keepers went home. Bankers closed their doors. Farmers came in from the fields. Teachers stopped teaching. Women fixed lunch. The mayor checked his watch. Dogs howled for their meals.

One day the whistle went off at 2 PM. Not noon as usual, and this was quite unusual. Shop keepers came out of their shops to have a look see. Farmers wiped their brows and looked toward town. Bankers stepped out of their banks to check out the situation. Teachers stopped recess for a moment. Women looked up from their chores. The mayor checked his watch, then called the mine office. Dogs howled and looked for another meal. But no miners came up from the mine,

The whistle signaled a cave-in at the mine. It blew again at 2:05 PM. Then again at 2:10 PM. All people in the town came running, Shop keepers, farmers, bankers, teachers, wives and mothers, grandparents, all came to help. They started digging at the mine entrance. Then students were enlisted to help. More women began to bring food and water to the excavators.

They could hear the cries of the miners as they dug. The townspeople dug faster and further down the mine shaft. Soon they reached the miners. Coal dust covered the miners from head to toe, but they were alive.

A celebration was held the next day. The mayor announced “Black Butte’s Best” as the name for the miners that were rescued. There was a parade and blessing for “Black Butte’s Best” at the All Saints Church.

At the community picnic later, it was decided that the noon whistle would now be moved to 2 PM daily. Everyone would take a break at that time in remembrance of the cave-in. This change would be to honor the miners.

But it seems the town had a hard time adapting to the change. At noon each day miners still took a break, shop keepers still went home, bankers closed their doors, farmers came in from the fields, teachers stopped teaching, women fixed lunch, and the mayor checked his watch. The dogs still howled for their meals. When the whistle went off at the new time of 2 PM, no one went home. No one left their jobs. The mayor didn’t check his watch. But the dogs still howled and looked for another meal.

This new schedule will take some getting used to.

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