Being frugal in the forties meant
Having a party line,

It was seldom, if ever, that farmers could
Have a private, telephonic grapevine,

Distinctive sounds summoned each of the few
Who shared a common bond,

But they might just as well have had the same wave
Of Alexander Graham Bell's wand,

Rings would summon each party to his instrument --
There was always choice gossip to tell,

The neighbors not only kept their ears to the ground,
But constantly listened as well,

And whenever the tinkling of Central was heard --
Whether two shorts, short-long or another kind,

You would always hear a series of clicks
As each party eavesdropped the line.

by D. Edgar Murray 03/30/2000.