Thursday, December 08, 2016

The clock ticks on

One of the pieces I inherited from my parents is this Emperor grandfather clock.

I remember picking it up in Baton Rouge.  I am not sure where, but it was some sort of warehouse sale maybe.  My Dad did not own a truck, so we borrowed his boss's El Camino, or the 'car truck' as I called it.  I thought it was the neatest car ever!! I rode all the way to and from Baton Rouge using the pull down arm rest in between Mom and Dad as my seat.  I was probably two or three years old, so it would have been 1974 or 1975.  No car seat or seat belt required in those days.

I grew up hearing that clock gong every 15 minutes.  I say hear but after so long you don't hear it any more until someone visiting comments about that noisy clock!  It has and off switch but what's the fun in having a grandfather clock that doesn't gong on the hour?

I was about six or seven and my job was to wind the clock.  I got a kick out of pulling the chains I guess.  I thought I would be smart and wind it faster by pulling two of the three chains at once.  I guess I pulled too hard because next thing I knew, I was crying on the carpet pinned under the clock.  I don't remember it hurting but I remember being hysterical that I had broken the clock!!  By some miracle, we were both fine and neither had a thing broken or scratched.

The clock ticked on until sometime in the late 80s or early 90s when it became still.  In the corner it sat for several years staring silently at us.  It became the backdrop for pictures.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it was the nicest piece we had.  Countless times I stood in the corner by the clock to take a picture.

After the birth of the miraculous internet, my Dad tracked down new guts for the clock.  The guts cost more than the clock originally did.  He surprised my Mom with it for Christmas.  Or tried to.  She secretly told me she thought he was fixing the clock, and sure enough, he did.

It was a little different in that the sun and the moon on the face were gone, but it was back to chiming every 15 minutes.  And it was LOUD.  My Dad ended up bending the little hammers a bit so they didn't strike as hard.  And time ticked on, sitting in the corner as it always had.  Eventually Mom passed away and it once again sat silently in the corner because my Dad never bothered to wind it.

Then came the threat of a big flood in spring of 2011.  The Morganza Spillway was to be opened.  Morgan City could be washed away if the seawall didn't hold.  Since the clock was one of the few things of value, my Dad offered it to me to keep it in a safe place.  "It's going to be yours anyway," he said.  Clint moved it to our house, and we put it to rest in our corner.

Now we often use it for a photo background.  It's usually silent as nobody winds it but me.  I won't let the kids touch it for some reason.  I try to keep it running, but often it gets forgotten.  Valerie complains about the gonging keeping her awake at night.

I still don't hear it.

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