Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tick Tock Goes the Grandfather Clock

1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1
It strikes! one, two,
Three, four, five, six. Enough, enough, dear watch,
Thy pulse hath beat enough. Now sleep and rest;
Would thou could'st make the time to do so too;
I'll wind thee up no more.

~Ben Jonson

Tick Tock

         To this day I love the sound of a ticking clock. To me it’s comforting. I don’t fear the passing of time, as long as I am heedful of how it’s spent. My maternal grandmother, and my own mother, owned Grandfather clocks.  I’ve read if the clock in question is six feet or taller then it can be designated as a Grandfather Clock. The story goes… in Piercebridge, England in north Yorkshire there was a place called the George Hotel run by two brothers. The upright clock kept perfect time until one of the brothers died, then it started losing time. At first a few minutes every few days, then several minutes a day.  Clock repairmen tried fixing it, but nothing could be done. When the second brother died it stopped all together.  However, being a somewhat mysterious fixture in the hotel, it was kept polished and cleaned, but un-working. Sometime around the 1870’s an American songwriter, Henry Clay Work, stayed at the hotel and heard the story. When he got back to the states he wrote a song, but to personalize it he incorporated his grandfather into the lyrics.  The tune was named, My Grandfather’s Clock. Before the song these clocks were known as case clocks or upright clocks or long clocks, but because of the success of the song they were thereafter known as Grandfather Clocks. Well, anyway, if memory holds true and even though I am vertically challenged myself, I believe both of the clocks my grandmother and mother owned were true Grandfather clocks.  Both of them stood watch on the same living room wall in the same 1860’s era home at different periods of “time”. Like most tall case clocks it would chime every fifteen minutes.  This could be slightly disconcerting whenever I was waiting. Waiting for Santa, waiting for dinner, waiting for Dad to say it was time for the boyfriend to be going home.  We all wait for something or someone everyday. Whether it’s in line at the grocery store, or the doctor’s office, or for children coming home from school, we all count the minutes until the moment arrives, then we start counting until the next event.  We may not literally count, but we are all guilty of checking our watch as it clicks away the moments. I try to envision the clock turning back in time and as it does so do the events of the day. And in so we are given a second chance to right any wrongs, fix any mistakes, make time count for something good. Since this is not possible, although a theoretical physicist may argue the point, we must pay close attention to the here and now so it doesn’t tick away without a thought or care to its importance. 
         Here, for your pleasure, is a link to read the lyrics and hear
My Grandfather’s Clock 

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