Around the Nation
Summarizing Summer Sounds
ROBERT SIEGEL, host: It's Labor Day, the holiday that we treat as if it were the end of summer, and that's good enough for our purposes here today. Since Memorial Day, this program has been presenting a collection of sounds that evoke the idea of summer. So with the season over, it's time to summarize.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: Our features served as a sonic evocation of all the pleasures and pains of the days of warm weather.
(SOUNDBITE OF THUNDER)
SIEGEL: The bang of thunder.
(SOUNDBITE OF ALASKAN LOONS)
SIEGEL: The call of Alaskan loons.
(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)
SIEGEL: The comforting sound of baseball on the radio, and machines. We had the reckless roar of a motorcycle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOTORCYCLE)
SIEGEL: The persistent puttering of a lawnmower.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAWNMOWER)
SIEGEL: The rise and fall of an air conditioner's machinery.
(SOUNDBITE OF AIR CONDITIONER)
SIEGEL: And there were the plunges of a rollercoaster.
(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)
SIEGEL: And the steadiness of a ride on a kiddy train at the zoo.
(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN)
SIEGEL: You let us inform you about the drudgery of plopping string beans into a bucket.
(SOUNDBITE OF STRING BEANS DROPPING INTO A BUCKET)
SIEGEL: And you salivated to the music of an ice cream truck.
(SOUNDBITE OF ICE CREAM TRUCK)
SIEGEL: Did we have the snort of a hog in a sty?
(SOUNDBITE OF HOG SNORTING)
SIEGEL: Indeed, we did. And the cheers of a Little League game.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)
SIEGEL: And the barrage of drag race.
(SOUNDBITE OF RACE CARS)
SIEGEL: You heard the thump of a heartbeat on a quiet night.
(SOUNDBITE OF HEART BEAT)
SIEGEL: The melody of a campfire song.
(SOUNDBITE OF KUM BAH YA)
SIEGEL: The clatter of a six-pack of beer.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOTTLES)
SIEGEL: And the whiz of a skateboard.
(SOUNDBITE OF SKATEBOARD)
(SOUNDBITE OF BIRD)
SIEGEL: Who can forget the chirp of a bird known as Chuck Will's Widow, the buzz of mosquitoes?
(SOUNDBITE OF MOSQUITOES)
(SOUNDBITE OF BULLFROGS)
(SOUNDBITE OF CICADAS)
SIEGEL: Bullfrogs and cicadas. And what's a Summer Sound Series without the clink of ice in a glass of tea?
(SOUNDBITE OF ICE IN A GLASS)
SIEGEL: Or the rhythm of steel drum music.
(SOUNDBITE OF STEEL DRUMS)
SIEGEL: Or an outdoor Shakespearean performance.
(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY)
SIEGEL: And we didn't let you down in the realm of paddle ball playing or the chug of a freight train.
(SOUNDBITE OF PADDLE BALL)
(SOUNDBITE OF FREIGHT TRAIN)
SIEGEL: Or the squirt of sun block.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOTTLE SQUIRTING)
SIEGEL: We reminded you of long ago radio jingles.
(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO JINGLES)
SIEGEL: The sound of shoveling earth to plant crops...
(SOUNDBITE OF SHOVELING)
SIEGEL: ...and the slam of a screen door.
(SOUNDBITE OF SCREEN DOOR)
SIEGEL: Summer sounds are not summer sounds without golf...
(SOUNDBITE OF GOLF BALL)
(SOUNDBITE OF FIREWORKS)
SIEGEL: ...and ocean waves.
(SOUNDBITE OF WAVES )
SIEGEL: And we had them all.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: What we didn't have, and what many of you longed to hear from us were a barbeque, bicycles, boats and harbor bells. Despite all your recommendations, we never got around to tanning, fans, horses, mothers calling their kids home for dinner, and bug zappers. Sorry about that. And not a flip-flop flop nor a sprinkler or a squirt gun sprayed, and except a newscast, we didn't hear hurricane winds. Sorry again. Those sounds will have to wait for another summer. But thanks to all of you for your emails.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: And how do you end a summer sound series? Here's how.
CORY TURNER: My name is Cory Turner. I'm senior editor here at ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And my summer sound comes from the backseat.
When I was a boy and my family went on summer vacation, we didn't fly. We drove and drove, and I'm sure I drove my parents crazy.
(SOUNDBITE OF BABY CRYING)
TURNER: That is my two-and-a-half-year-old son, Amon(sp). And this summer, I was the one strapping my poor child into the backseat for a 2,000-mile summer road trip. We're about five miles from Du Quoin, Illinois, and...
AMON TURNER: Da-da's funny.
TURNER: Amon, are you ready for a nap?
TURNER: Na, night.
TURNER: Are you asleep now?
TURNER: When he wasn't napping or pretending to nap, we made sounds for all of the animals we saw.
(SOUNDBITE OF AMON MAKING ANIMAL SOUNDS)
TURNER: And when the scenery afforded nothing but cornfields and fellow travelers, we played one of my old favorites, spot the car.
TURNER: There's one.
TURNER: Where? I don't see a red car.
TURNER: It's right there.
TURNER: It's right there. Here it is. Oh.
TURNER: There was also lots of singing.
TURNER: (singing) The wheels on the bus go rum, dum, dum...
TURNER: Notice the skillful improvisation and rhythmic hiccupping.
TURNER: (Singing) ...all through the town.
TURNER: As did my parents so many years ago. My wife Rachel and I have one nuclear option. On the rare occasion when things got bad, and I mean bad, I mean, this bad.
(SOUNDBITE OF AMON CRYING)
TURNER: We put in a mixed CD of songs made by a couple of good friends and fellow parents as a parting gift at their son Henry's second birthday party. Amon loves it and knows it simply as...
TURNER: Henry's music. Henry's music. Henry's music. It's a musical. I want Henry's music, please.
TURNER: It had everything, a peppy version of "Wheels On The Bus," "C Is For Cookie," a duet between Oscar the Grouch and Johnny Cash and my favorite, by Clarence "Frogman" Henry.
(SOUNDBITE OF "AIN'T GOT NO HOME")
CLARENCE FROGMAN HENRY: (Singing) I ain't got no home, no place to roam.
TURNER: It didn't really matter what song we played, as long as Amon knew it was from Henry's music, he'd smile, relax, sit back and forget that he was still trapped in the backseat on his first summer road trip.
SIEGEL: That's our own Cory Turner with the summer sounds from a road trip with his two-and-a-half-year-old son. And with that, our long ride through the audio landscape of the season comes to an end. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.