300 Sunny Days in Colorado

Susie Lindau

Susie Lindau
Boulder, Colorado, USA
April 11
Writer and illustrator
I am a Boulder writer who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride! I finished a paranormal thriller based on my own experiences. Creepy, right?


AUGUST 3, 2011 8:32AM

Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow! Please...

Rate: 41 Flag


Red Skelton and fellow whistlers 

There is a memory that resonates from my childhood. It is a sound so delightful in its simplicity and one I personally strived for hours to produce. It is a magical sound that could turn heads with its type of call. This sound could trigger a reaction instantaneously. It is precariously on the edge of extinction and yet no one seems to notice or care. Please! I beg you to do something about the fate of the whistle before it’s forever silenced.

Oh sure you can still hear it at sporting events, concerts, and an occasional graduation; meaning, “Thank the Lord! Whew, that was close!”

We used to rely on the whistle’s intonations for communication long before the invention of the cell phone or telephone for that matter. It could mean, “Hey! I’m over here!” or “Honey, you are one hot smokin’ babe!” or “EVERYBODY, SHUT UP!”

Its imminent demise is obvious when looking up the “meaning of whistleblowing.” The Free Dictionary states and I quote: Whistleblower n. One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.

What? I was looking up the nuances in whistles. Soon no one will know the difference between a, “Hey! How are yah!” and a “cat call.”


A tutorial, although the guy on the right may be snorting

Long before the I-pod, whistling was the fastest way to reproduce the latest hit tune. I noticed the first signs of discontent when my children were living at home. I would happily whistle in my kitchen and could feel their glaring eyes since the shrill sound interfered with the tonal quality of their headsets. They would storm off to their rooms to switch out their earbuds for noise cancelling headphones.

I grew up in simpler times, when the only television programs worth watching started at 7:00 in the evening.  When we were bored during a long hot summer afternoon, my friends and I would whistle to call to a confused bird who hoped for a mid-day quickie. This nasty trick worked best on cardinals. They seemed to fall prey to our adolescent hijinks more often than the other birds. I often wondered if they just didn’t hear as well or if they were the horniest species around. They would call back in response flying closer and closer, only to realize it was a stupid human producing the intoxicating siren call and not a voluptuous feathered friend.

There are many ways to produce the sound. The most common way to whistle is to purse your lips making a little “o”, suck in your cheeks, and blow. Pressing your thumb and forefinger together and putting them in your mouth has been known to produce a piercing whistle that could leave an unsuspecting listener with hearing damage. See warnings below. There is also the two fisted approach where the whistler takes their index fingers and hooks them into the corners of their mouth creating a wind tunnel effect, but operator misuse has also been known to misfire a saliva ball.


Years ago, my friend Lori taught me a new technique

I found these warnings in Wikipedia:

If you find you can whistle really loud, refrain from doing so in someone’s ear. It generally is not appreciated, because it tends to hurt.

Sometimes you may find yourself short of breath after whistling loudly or for a long time.

You may feel wheezy after whistling/practicing for too long. 

When your lips are chapped/dry, whistling might cause them to split further. That hurts like a… witch, so you’re advised to not try it when this is the case. (chapstick will help) 

Learning to whistle when I was growing up was a rite of passage along with tying my shoes and riding a bike. Now it has been replaced by learning to text and tweet on a multicolored and sometimes bedazzled cell phone. When children are trying to get each other’s attention, now all they have to do is dig their cell phone out from under the juice box in their Harry Potter backpack and text the kid in front of them, “Dude, slow down! : P”

When trying to get a teenager to come out of their slovenly bedroom for dinner the whistle has been replaced by a text from mom or dad.

The family dog may be the only stronghold to the whistle’s complete demise. Only they seem unphased by recent technological advancements. By using any of the above techniques, not only will one find the results quite favorable, but you may also obtain a positive response from the neighbor’s dog.

Soon no one will remember what a whistle was used for. It will become an ancient artifact along with the VCR, cassette tapes, and the rotary telephone.

I beg of you please consider this request. Set your phone down, put your lips together, and blow!


Do you still whistle?


The most famous whistle  - a must see!
Follow me on Twitter! @SusieLindau 
3rd photo by S. Lindau the rest by Google 

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What a neat idea for a post. My dad used to do all kinds of neat trick whistles with trills and embellishments. I never could. My favorite musician now is Andrew Bird, an excellent indie folk artist who plays the violin (a Suzuki kid) and is famous for whistling!
Thanks Miguela! My dad is a great whistler too! I could have included so much in this post. I am glad it brought back a memory.
Bacall is enough for me.
Thanks Mary for reading!
Hey Susie, some of us are physically incapable of whistling. I read that somewhere long ago. So please spare some sympathy for we whistling-impaired. Nice post regardless.
Very original..
I cannot whistle but according to everyone here at the summer visit I nag.. Is that a whistle??:)

Thanks Abrawang for coming by to visit. I grew up with a dad who whistled all the time. It is probably in my genetic pool! Hahaha!

Thanks Bobbot! I lOVE that video. I am glad your watched it.
This is so terrif, Susie! Brings back all the memories of teaching my son to whistle and a great kids' book on it HOW PETER WISHED HE COULD WHISTLE! That's not the title but the opening line.

Bacall, could have wet my whistle any time!
Babies love whistling and it will make them stop crying, I sometimes whistle softly when working with them. We had a family whistle when my kids were young to get them their attention, yeah they were embarrassed but this was twenty years ago so it was the only way.Never thought how the whistle is going away. Cute post with lots of nice memories Sus.
Nice tweet Matt!

Thanks for stopping by Linda! When I started blogging, I thought this was the type of post I would be writing. I hope to write more like this.

Thanks Jon! I just realized one day that I never hear kids whistle anymore....we used to all the time!
I've never been able to whistle!
Well, thanks Neil! Paul and Dylan are rubbing off on you!

Outonalimb -- Isn't that the best clip?!!!

Thanks Rita! I really think it is getting replaced by technology and is hard to do in the first place. This is a little tongue and cheek way to introduce the subject. Pun intended! Hahaha!
Great post. I was just telling some people the other day, that nobody whistles anymore, but me. I learned from my dad, who was a master whistler. I'm good and whistle all the time. In stores, people look at me like I'm crazy, but I don't care. As Hank Jr. says, It a Family Tradition!
Wow did this bring memories of my grandfather come rushing at me! He was an amazing whistler.
Thanks for reading DivorcedPauline! I remember how hard it was to learn, but my dad is an amazing whistler so I kept on trying!

Scanner that is so true! I have been caught whistling as well. I also think it is contagious. If I hear someone whistle, I join right in! hahaha!
You know what they say, I never could whistle.
Talk about a lost art-- know anybody who can yodel?
Toritto I can't whistle as loud as some, but my kids would argue with me on that one!

I am so glad Ischmoopie! It was so common "back in the day." Thanks!
Too bad Kenny! Thanks for reading~

Mark I don't! That has always fascinated me. But maybe if you hum a few bars, I could try...hahaha!
This was fun, Susie! Thanks for posting! My husband is a great whistler, and teases me mercilessly for being pretty awful at it myself. But I practice when he's not around, and soon I'm going to surprise him by belting one out at the dog park to get the hound's attention. I wonder if all the dogs will come, or just mine? : )
Thanks JR! I am glad you came by. I think I have a few relics around my house too! Hahaha!
JJ - Thanks for reading! You could get more than you bargained for! Hahaha!
My parrot likes to whistle when I am the only one in the house. The first time he did it it freaked me right out. Now we whistle together!
My dad hated when I whistled, I guess I sucked, so I stopped for a very long time but have recently started again when I am bored waiting on something or need to tune someone out. Great idea for a post!!
Thanks Lunchlady! Your parrot sounds like a hoot!!! I am glad you stopped by.
Lovely thought. I cannot carry out a tune in a whistle, but I love listening to one. And although I see "satire" and "comedy" in your tags, the essential message rings (npi) is very true.
Thanks Fusun for reading! I am glad you enjoyed the humor in this.
Ah dear woman I whistle alot oftener than i ought to.
quietly. was brought up by sexy sisters and a mom with no tolerance
for nonsense. though, ha, she knew what i was all about. not whistling
to humiliate, nor

to put on the spot,

but like dad and old men everywhere:
to just make a sound, like the birds...

women are obviously alot like birds.

anyone who can't fill in the f-ing blanks,

u = sillydumb.

blanks=birds perch, move on, etc.
men gravity bound, due to einstein & damn him,
isaac newton.
Thanks James! I can be found whistling from time to time. Just like the birds. I have been known to flit as well!
I still whistle, although not very well. People of my parents' generation (born 1910-20) all seemed to be excellent whistlers, probably because the transistor radio hadn't been invented yet.
What an absolutely delightful post. It might hearten you to know, I knew my kids made a developmental leap the day they learned to whistle. The dream lives on.
Thanks Con! My dad's family farm didn't get electricity until the 30's so I think you are right!
I totally agree we must keep the sound of rushing through our mouths alive. If not, it will soon disappear like the after sex cigarette. R
Thanks Rei. I am glad you enjoyed it! We can only hope.....
I am so jealous, I have the most anemic whistle on the planet. Can't quite figure it out.
This is the sexiest scene, ever, in a movie.
rated with love
Funny, I never think about whistling anymore. My mother whistled all the time.
Yes, I can still whistle. I know how to whistle because that was how we controlled the farm dogs. The dogs did the herding, so knowing how to whistle was an essential skill, like knowing how to operate the tractors.

It's a good city skill too... it stops cabs ;)
Hello ~ whistling definitely alive and well, here in Venezuela. The "cat-call" or piropo , an artform.
I still whistle at whatever I want to. Neat post.
JALI 17. I just whistled to you.

I like to use a green grass blade.

I had a farm helper named Michele.

She could whistle better than skeletons.

She was lured by a bum-guy with a pony tail.

It's a long '~' story. On 'L' ~ is no kissing anymore.

Michele spelled her name with one 'L' for 'no hell'`

Michele still has hell in her heart and whistles well.

I was trying to get to this post almost all dang day.

You made me feel like a bluebird flop-on-shoulder.
Fun post. My dad could whistle and my ability shifts from day to day. Love the scene with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Rated.
Trudge you are so right!! Hahaha!

Thanks for reading RP. I love that scene too!

Lea - Just put your lips together and blow!
Hey I am going to try that. Thanks so much!
Suzie, before iPhones or smart phones if we were in a big crowd my dad had his whistle that we could hear anywhere. It was so nice to remember that while reading you. R
I am so glad Catherine! It is a great skill and one I still use. Now if I could just get back to NYC to use it....

Inverted - that is hilarious! I haven't heard a cat call in years!!!

Thanks Jali for reading!
Original and beautifully said, Susie, well done. R
Thanks Art, I am glad you stopped by!
Susie Lindau. Tao. The Way. 9-11?
It's sad to think about. We notice.
I wondered away waiting so long.
It took that long to get back on.

Thank You. It's a sad and trying era.
I am full of appreciation we are alive.
My computer gadget may get hacked`
but it's a pleasure to sense great folk.
never drink whiskey in flask? O Moo?
Pour heathy drinks in flask. Beet juice.
I am glad you enjoyed it Erica! I think it brought back memories for many...
This had me laughing throughout, Susie. Those poor cardinals! Thanks for a lovely bit of whimsy on a lost art--and for including Lauren's fabulous scene.
Thanks Algis. Let me know how it goes!!!!

I am glad this brought back a fond memory Wendy. Thanks for taking the time to read it!
That's so sweet of you Thoth!

Art - Wow! Double the pleasure! Thanks for coming by again!
Beet juice?
- Mountain Mead Art!
Whistling is one of those skills you either have or don't. Alas I'm a non-whistler. And I have DOGS! That might explain their lack of respect for me.
Thanks for reading Pilgrim! I am glad you enjoyed it~
great post :) Im a decent whistler but I have room for improvement :) lol...
Cool post! Love the clip at the end...~r
Late to the party, but I LOVE this! And how sexy was that Bacall?
Thanks Bellwether for reading. That is too funny!!

Thanks A for stopping by! I never mastered the trills and warbles my dad does so effortlessly.

Thanks Joan for stopping by to read. I am a big fan of the classics and love that video too!