The bells went off at 5:30 a.m.
No, I don’t live next to a very active church, and I don’t live in a neighborhood with a strolling handbell choir.
It was the alarm Suzi chose on her phone over various annoying sounds, both of our ringtones and the opening bars of George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.”
We were up early because it was going to be beastly hot later in the day, so we wanted to get our walk in before that happened. (I also had a morning dentist appointment, but not long before I was going to leave, the office called to postpone.)
Fortunately, it doesn’t take me long to wake up, even though I don’t drink coffee. All I need is a cup of orange juice to wash the taste from sleeping out of my mouth and I’m ready to go.
As we drove down the hill to the trail parking from where we would start walking, we passed a woman who’s out early every morning, although we didn’t think we’d see her that early.
I wonder what she does to wake up.
The quiet of the early morning amplified everything.
At a stoplight, the beeping to let people know they can cross seemed extra loud, and there was sound coming from a second-floor apartment that I’m going to say was singing, because the alternative — torturing kittens — is not something I want to contemplate.
Well before we had circled all the way back to the train station at the end of our walk, we heard a train rolling into the station, ready to pick up early commuters.
It seemed like there were a lot of cars for so early in the morning. Being Massachusetts, where the worst directions you can give to anyone is “turn at the Dunkies,” I’d guess there was a 75 percent chance they were headed to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Another train arrived at the station the same time we did. Like us, it just passed through, as no one was waiting and we got in our car to go home.
The weather was perfect, with only the tiniest of hints at the very end of how hot it was going to get.
Back on our street, the woman was still out. As I was eating breakfast, I’m pretty sure I saw her walking her dog.
The alarm used to go off at 5:15, Monday through Friday.
The tune has changed over time, but my favorite was probably “Memphis Lives in Me” from the musical “Memphis,” which we saw in London.
Much like how I used to make my father shake me by the shoulder, even though I heard him coming down the hall, I would try to steal a few more seconds of sleep listening to the wonderful Killian Donnelly sing the first few lines.
“There’s a town that I call home
Where all the streets are paved with soul.
Down on Beale, there’s a honky tonk bar,
Hear the wail of a blues guitar,
Have a beer and drop a dime
In the blind man’s jar.”
Now, I get up closer to 7. If the sun coming in the window, my body saying it’s time to get moving or not being able to get back to sleep after something wakes me up doesn’t get me out of bed, a chime telling me it’s time to take my morning fish oil pill (getting older, folks) does.
I don’t know if it would be 5:15 again — maybe it would be closer to 7, since I’ve gotten used to it — but I wish there was a reason to have to get up early again.