“Time is not measured by clocks but by moments.” — Author unknown
— Author unknown
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It’s about time.
In the beginning, it was time as a youngster in the Northeast Texas community of Pittsburg watching my grandfather’s ritual. He was a man of rigid routine. The old clock high atop his chifforobe required a weekly winding. So, he wound it every Saturday night at bedtime with a big brass key, gently twisting it until the timepiece was ready for another seven days. That clock and his pocket watch marked every passing hour of his life.
I could hear the clock, but I saw only rare glimpses from my childhood vantage point. Finding a banana or an apple in the cut-glass bowl on the dining room buffet required reaching above my head. But I knew where Granny kept them. A few more years of growth would be needed before I appreciated seeing the top of the buffet or the clock.
Why he placed it up there, I never questioned. At that age, perhaps I assumed that was where everyone kept their old windup clock, although I didn’t know anyone else who had one.
After his funeral just days before Christmas of 1967, the clock was gone from its lofty perch. Granny’s story was something about a family friend who had given it to him many years ago and wanted it back after he died. I was still in college, and all I knew was he and the clock were both gone leaving only fond memories of both.
It was another time in 1977 that I met W.D. Parker in Shelby County when his daughter, Evon, and I planned to marry. Having her in my life included a tall “grandfather” style clock he made for her. Her father was a master craftsman with wood. He not only made clocks, but he also made our daughter’s bedroom furniture after she arrived. Everything he fashioned from wood was a work of art, but clocks were his specialty.
His clocks not only kept track of the hour by striking like my grandfather’s, but they also chimed a melodic verse on each quarter-hour before announcing the hour. And where winding my grandfather’s clock utilized a key, winding his big clocks was accomplished by resetting a series of weights and chains. Like the smaller clock, the mechanism required winding every seven days, but it was less of a ritual at our house. At times, winding occurred after the clock stopped. That was life with little ones.
Time and life one day went in different directions for Evon and me. All that remained were memories that included the clock’s melodic chime marking our time together when our children were young.
My children were grown and had children of their own a few years ago when I walked into an antique store in Center. I was headed for the restaurant in the back, a favorite downtown lunch spot at the time. Greeting Randall at the front counter as I had before, I glanced at the treasures for sale as I went. One old clock smiled at me as I passed, but I didn’t stop; that is until I was halfway to the back and my mind had properly processed the visual image.
I turned and walked back to face the clock identical to the one Evon’s father had made for her some 40 years ago. Surveying the tall timepiece and absorbing memories it evoked, my eyes landed on the small metal plate inscribed, “Designed and Built by W.D. Parker 1975.”
Time stood still as I ate lunch. I never took my eyes off the clock where it sat near the entrance. Lunch hastily finished; I also wasted no time telling Randall I wanted it. While it wasn’t the clock Mr. Parker built for his daughter, he made this one about the same year, and it was identical to the one in my timeless memories.
Every day since then, it has chimed reminders of the fleeting nature of time and encouraged me to keep dreaming of memories yet to be made.
Time moves at the same pace for everyone. There’s no changing it as much as we would like to speed it up or slow it down. The old clock Mr. Parker handcrafted going on 50 years ago makes sure that I never forget. It’s about time.
And it’s always time to appreciate every moment as it comes, cherish every memory after it’s gone, and capture every dream it promises for the future.
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