|The Whistling Boy, Frank Duveneck, 1872|
Cincinnati Art Museum
WT, on the other hand, is a natural-born whistler. He can whistle anything, embellished with trills, even key changes. I don't know about you, but whistling triggers my serotonin levels, evoking a sense of the warm woollies. When I wake up to perky whistling, I know it's going to be a good day. Would I be stretching it to say my DNA is tingling? Maybe not. That deep DNA just might be doing its thing.
My uncles tell me a lady in our little rural Indiana church was known to whistle solo hymns for the congregation, complete with a lace hanky strategically clasped in her hands. My aunt loves to tell the story of how she won first place in a whistling competition in the 1950s. To this day, we tease her about opening up a prestigious School of Whistling, before it becomes a lost art.
There are a lot of interesting superstitions connected with whistling. In Russian and other Slavic cultures, whistling indoors is believed to bring poverty, "whistling money away", whereas whistling outdoors is considered normal. In Serbia, it is said whistling indoors will attract mice, while in Korea, Japan, parts of South East Asia, and South India, whistling at night is thought to bring snakes. In Scotland, some people say whistling makes Our Lady, Mary cry; this is told to small children to keep them quiet. On board a sailing ship, whistling is thought to encourage the wind strength to increase. Among, many theater superstitions, whistling on a stage is thought to bring bad luck or at least a bad performance.
I thought it might be fun to write a poem about whistling. When I finished the first draft, I realized this piece seems to portray more than one kind of bodily noise. I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe, much less whistle. I started revising the parts in question, but since they "permeate" the entire poem, I decided to leave it as is, in its first "draft", for your comedic pleasure. "Toot Dixie" might be a more appropriate title. It took me three reads to make it all the way through without laughing.
Seems we have grown
in the street or at the grocery store.
No more Hoosier Sundays,
church lady trumpeting
the walls of Jericho, clutching
a badly bound hymn book,
out-tooting a tea kettle.
My natural-born whistler
throws caution to the wind
and whets his with abandon,
serenading my mornings,
like the scent of all the lilacs in Ohio.
I smile and come to breakfast
like a well-trained pet.
pictures courtesy of Google images