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From the Farm

Town down the volume

April 3, 2009
By Kerry Hoffman

I have been accused of being many things.

Some people have told me that their first impression of me was that I was a bit head-strong. Now if that doesn't make a person step back and take a look at themselves, nothing else would.

Just the other day, after I finished giving a presentation, a woman stopped me and told me she enjoyed my personality. I was sweet.

I guess I have never considered myself to be sweet - maybe nice, but not sweet. So I really appreciated that comment.

One thing that I have never heard anyone say to me is, "You are way to quiet!"

No, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Most of the time I hear that I need to bring the volume down just a bit.

Even complete strangers have told me I am loud - especially my laugh.

Years ago, when Joey and Russell were still in elementary school, my volume was brought into perspective.

I was sitting in a classroom with a teacher discussing the latest progress of my children. Don't you just love parent-teacher conferences?

I was joking and laughing and having a good ole' time with commiserating with the teacher. When I was finished I walked out into the hallway to find Joey and Russell.

"God Mom, I could hear you laughing," Joey said, as we walked down the hall. "You can be so embarrassing."

It just so happened there was another young student sitting in the hallway. He looked at me and stated, "He's right, you know." And that young man was way down at the other end of the hall.

I felt terribly bad for the teacher. Good lord, she was sitting right next to me. I could have shattered her ear drums.

No matter how hard I try to tone it down, it doesn't seem to work.

At my job I sit in a cubicle. Directly next to me, but divided my a pseudo-wall is Nora. She's just as loud as I am. At first I found her booming voice to be intimidating. We promised each other that if we ever found ourselves getting louder and louder, and trying to speak over each other, we would throw something over the pseudo-wall.

We also promised it wouldn't be anything heavy.

I actually think having us placed next to each other is helping each of us try to bring the volume down. Joey and Russell always accuse me of practically yelling into the cell phone.

In all my years, I have never been told to keep in down while I was in a bar.

Until the other day at Carl's Corner.

Yes, I was told to tone it down in the bar. It was the middle of the day, we had just finished a meeting and were discussing a few things in the bar area. We, that would be Steve and I, were giving another meeting attendee a hard time.

At one point, the owner walked over, looked at me and said, "Can you keep it down? They are trying to have a meeting over there."

Ouch! Although I didn't take any offense; I know how loud I can be. (Honestly, no offense was taken! I know I am loud.)

I sometimes find myself trying to be quiet and apologizing to those around me for being so loud. Usually, they say it's OK, "that's just the way you are."

It's not my nature to be quiet.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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