Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Grandmother Clock


This is a story about our Grandmother Clock. It is not a Grandfather Clock because it is more petite and therefore more like a Grandmother than a Grandfather. It was a gift to Gregory’s mom and dad, Helen and Ed, from Uncle Joe. It now calls our guest room home.

Once, a long time ago, Helen came home from shopping to find Gregory, a child of nine or ten, sitting on the living room carpet with his legs crossed and the entire inside contents of the Grandmother Clock laid out in pieces around him on a bath towel. “What ever do you think you are doing?” she demanded.

“Shhhhh,” replied Gregory, “you’ll make me forget how it goes back together.” Helen was smart enough to retire to the kitchen to put away the groceries. You see, Gregory had been the only one in the family since Uncle Joe who had ever been able to keep the clock ticking. And often, the clock had chosen not to.

Two thoughts on the Grandmother Clock:

First Thought: The best thing about a Grandmother Clock, or a Grandfather Clock for that matter and also my pet peeve, is the chiming every quarter hour. A good clock has a wonderful voice; deep, resonant, clear.

QUARTER AFTER:
The clock chimes one run of four notes. Does anyone remember what hour it is? Maybe, maybe not.

HALF PAST:
The clock chimes two runs with four notes each for a total of  eight notes. No hint or memory as to what the hour is.

THREE QUARTERS PAST (also known as a QUARTER ‘TIL:)
The clock chimes three runs of four notes each for a total of twelve notes. What a waste of chimes! What a waste of time! Waiting all that way and for sure no idea what the hour is.

ON THE HOUR:
 Four runs. Four times four notes. Sixteen in all.  Some would say “Too many notes!” But now I am content. Now it will chime the hour for me.

Second Thought: Sometimes, when no one is listening, I think the clock likes to sing its own song. Once and a while, as I am drifting off to sleep and the clock is chiming midnight, I could swear that the clock sings a song totally different from the usual DING, DONG, DING, DONG it sings when people are awake and listening. Makes sense to me.

To end my story, sure enough several hours later Gregory had reassembled the clock and it was working perfectly. Helen had put away all the groceries, prepared dinner, set the table and put the flowers she arranged in the center ready for dinner with Ed soon to arrive home. 


January 2008

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