Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ten of Nine


Unbroken

I keep telling people that here in my new Vermont home the vast stillness is unbroken except for the occasional sound of distant church bells and passing trains.  That is not precisely true. Rutland City does have one big noise to offer those who can’t stand too much peace and quiet: the Ten of Nine Whistle.


 Horn of Plenty

The Ten of Nine Whistle is actually a large airhorn that sits atop the fire station in the center of Rutland, and diagonally opposite the house I now occupy. The horn has a rich history, and a loud voice, and to love both is to be a true Rutlander.  In fact, whenever anyone has attempted to silence the Ten of Nine, it comes back even stronger, always an appealing and admirable trait.

Downtown Rutland in 1907

Back in the old days, the horn was primarily used to summon firefighters. Like most emergency alert systems, it required testing, sometimes daily, and always at the same hour to distinguish it from a real alarm. Rutland later began to sound the horn at 8:50 every night, as a warning to teenagers that the 9pm curfew was imminent and they had ten minutes to get off the streets.  That curfew was short-lived, but the 8:50 sounding of the horn persisted. In recent years, from what I can learn online and in talking to locals, thanks to various changes in government, the horn was first allowed to fall into disuse, then reinstated, then put on a reduced schedule, then not only restored to its regular nightly blast, but given the added duty and distinction of sounding at 8:50 every morning as well. 

 Close Call

A few years ago, they even put the issue to a vote and Rutlanders overwhelmingly supported the maintaining of this twice daily schedule.  Living so close to this undeniable piece of history capable of rattling windows and knocking you out of your shoes if you aren’t expecting it, and most nearly resembling the sound of the Queen Mary entering port, I fully understand those in the minority who cast dissenting votes, but given the chance, I know that I too would have voted in favor of the horn. It begins the day in a tone that is proud, clear and bold, letting all good citizens know that we have made it through the night and all is well. And after an honest day’s work and a hot meal and everyone safely in their homes, it seems to say “the day is done, good job, it’s alright to rest now.” 

 Ten of Nine 

But here is why I really love this horn. Today is my birthday. On December 7th 1962, at 8:50 in the morning, I was born.  Ask not for whom the horn sounds – today, it sounds for me.

45 comments:

  1. Have a great birthday Gabriella! and enjoy the horn sounds!

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  2. Thank you so much Luis! I was ready for the horn this morning and it never sounded better - it seemed to say "happy birthday, welcome home, back where you belong."

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  3. Gabriella - Happy Birthday!
    How wonderful you are in your new home and celebrate such a day with the history of your new town rattling your cage.

    Have a wonderful day of it.

    ~robert

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  4. Robert, thank you! If this is a cage, then I am one happy captive! All the best to you.

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  5. Gabriella :-) first I came here to see your post and than I saw that today is your birthday :-) I didn't know...
    happy birthday Gabriella!!! (the case that just today I received your book .. life is strange isn't? or simply "a matter of feeling")

    I'm very happy about

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  6. Greetings, dear Laura! So, my book has arrived in your hands today - this is a great gift for me to hear it! Thanks for this news, and your presence here. Hugs and kisses to you!

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  7. Amen! What a lovely post Gabriella! So honored to share the fine birth date with you! That horn is ushering in all good wishes for the coming year!

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  8. Thanks Patti! And Tom Waits thanks you too (another December 7th baby). Now get off the computer and enjoy your day! I'll do same.

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  9. Ah, isn’t this just like you? Here it’s your birthday and you give us a gift....

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  10. Great post & Happy Birthday!

    Looks like a great place to live...!

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  11. And just like you, William, to give me one back in the form of your kind words.

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  12. Bard - thanks for the birthday wishes! Looks are not deceiving in this instance - it really is a great place to live!

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  13. Oops - that should read "Brad!" Maybe I still had William in mind as I wrote my reply...

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  14. This was a marvellous post. How magical. And I love that the horn blew for you today. Happy Birthday and many more of them.

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  15. Thanks, EC!It isn't very often that the Universe sends such an unmistakable signal that you are in the right place at the right time!

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  16. Happy Birthday!

    Your horn reminds me of Dr. Seuss's wonderful book, "Happy Birthday to You" - I'm sure there's a horn in there somewhere, although I don't remember the exact quote.

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  17. JMG - any reference, however inexact, to Dr Seuss is welcome here! I owe my love of language - and whimsy - to his fine example! Thanks for the well wishes. One more good thing about this tiny town is that they have a wonderful photo shop I've communicated with but not yet visited in person. They serve all the hardcore shutterbugs near and far, recently had one of the last true b & w film processors in the area - and they love Holga and Diana!

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  18. Horn, Horn ! Happy Birthday !!! 生日快乐 祝福 !!!

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  19. Today all 'sounds' were in your honor!
    bells, the sweet rhythm of the train, and the horn at the exact time of your birth ...
    CONGRATULATIONS!
    that you enjoy, this change - be very happy!
    a toast! salute!
    De

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  20. A town like that can really be home :-)

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  21. Wow, what an amazing coincidence.

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  22. Thank you Wong! Your wishes mean so much to me!

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  23. Denise - I raise my glass to you! Tonight, as a special birthday gift to myself, I listened to the new Tom Waits album I bought last month and did not have time yet to hear - have you heard it? He is my birthday twin, and a kindred spirit.

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  24. Hey Matt - thanks for your comment - my life does seem to be full of these weird coincidences, and it comforts me that at least some of the time patterns and connections emerge in life that make sense amidst the general chaos and uncertainty! All the best to you!

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  25. Happy Birthday Gaby !! All the horns, all the music sounds today for you, the trumpets, the bells and the carillons. The water and the wind caressing the branches of those living trees which decorated the year that is about to end. I still remember with fresh mind, almost like it had been yesterday, your last year birthday. 365 awakenings, 365 sunsets passed and here we are, with great pleasure and joy, celebrating you and congratulating you again, with deep grateful feeling of having the privilege of knowing you and enjoy of your friendship. What can one say on a day like this, without having the risk of falling into a common place??, when you know that my best wishes and warmest regards are sent to you everyday? when you know that a wonderful friend, a wonderful person like you have a special place in my mind, everysingle day of my life?? well, so this time I am going to set the feelings free from the tyranny of the words and let them travel the world up and down and embrace it all, fill every corner and reach the place where you are, so in that way you may feel by yourself, the joy, the happiness, that I feel of celebrating you today, yes, but also every day. Only in that way you could be able to perceive a feeling and an emotion for the one words get short.

    But still, will write you as words also help to make something to last forever, if possible: May you have many wonderful days, and years, of happy, shining life.

    With the most sincere wishes and the warmest regards
    Your friend:

    Alberto

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  26. Happy BIrthday G - by the time I read this your today was my yesterday but the wishes meant well regardless of time zones! I love the horn story on so many levels; and loved your closing line - I laughed and smiled! Hope you had a great one F

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  27. HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear Gabriella, enjoy your new year and your new home, it looks new and different in Vermont :) xxxx

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  28. Dear Alberto - your beautiful words have reached and embraced me and made my birthday last into a second day! Many many thanks, my wonderful friend!

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  29. Fiona - I seem to recall writing last year about one day being too limited to contain my birthday celebrations, so your wishes do not come late or unappreciated! The second day of my birthday has begun with the world blanketed in new snow and good wishes from faraway friends - what more could I ask?

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  30. Hello Renilde - many thanks for your birthday wishes! My new year has already begun well thanks to friends like you!

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  31. Happy belated birthday, Gabriella! Auguri. I hope your new home will be a good one.

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  32. Stasja - mille grazie! I'm very happy in my new home, and all these wonderful birthday wishes to surround me just make it that much more warm and welcoming! Have a great weekend.

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  33. Gabriella,
    Sorry, I'm late.
    But I think it's never too late to wish happiness and the best to you!
    I also want to wish harmony and joy to your new home. Hope this new place can bring you even more inspirations.
    Kisses!

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  34. Dear Cris - your comments are always welcome, sooner or later! No apologies necessary, sweet friend. Thank you so much for your wishes.

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  35. A great big but belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I look forward to more updates and photos from Vermont. BTW I like the clock. :)

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  36. How could I miss your birthday..
    I have to write it on my new calender "Bikes in black and white" you have sent me for next year!!
    Hmm, December the 7th..
    So, let's hear the horn blowing and
    Happy Birthday, dear friend!!!

    Hugs from Greece
    Monika

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  37. James - thank you so much! That clock is actually a CD player/radio done in perfect retro style! I bought it many years ago, at a department store, but I like that it looks more like an antique shop or flea market find! Have a great week...

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  38. Monika, I am happy to see you here! Thanks for your comment, and for making such good use of your new calendar! The horn blows twice every day - it's due to blow in five minutes as I write this - so I will think of you this time! Much love.

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  39. Hi TT/G - my birthday wishes flew your way with Fiona's belated wishes - sorry just had to be vibes I'm afraid. - life had been a tad busy on the F&B block as of late with the work-work. I loved your reference re the horn - and why should it not sound for you. The day, hour etc references were excellent. Our big bits of work-work are nearing completion. I commented to B that our minds are now turning more to NY. We need to correspond and work out dates, times events and riotous times. The exhibition opening looked a useful way to meet folk and doing the gallery tour seems to have built some links and social capital for you both. After the Christmas madness may the new year see a new balance and reward come into your lives. Go well. B

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  40. Barry, your vibes have arrived safely and are most appreciated! I understand busy, that's for sure. We will have to communicate soon about your visit, though I must admit, my mind is preoccupied at the moment with pulling off some kind of Christmas celebration while putting the finishing touches on setting up a functioning household! By New Year's, perhaps I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and start actually living this life that has taken such effort to establish! Keep us apprised of your plans. Best to you both!

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  41. yeah, a toast to soulmates!
    as appropriate toast hear the new album from Tom,
    I've heard and enjoyed!

    Salute!
    like in the movie 'Barfly'
    ... to all my friends !!!!!!!
    :))

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  42. Denise, I'm glad you enjoyed the new album from Tom! Salute!

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  43. dear Gabriella
    Today I came to thank your presence throughout this year, a true companion ...
    is very good to share with you, changes, things in life, artistic stuff, stuff and more stuff .......
    Great strength, courage, clarity, health, joy, satisfaction, achievement .....
    I think with these ingredients, will elaborate for a wonderful 2012!

    Buon anno caríssima!

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  44. Mille grazie, Denise! I am so grateful for the many blessings of 2011, and your friendship has a special place on that list! 2012 will be wonderful! Buon anno!

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