My father loved clocks. Growing up we had a cuckoo clock in our kitchen and a grandfather clock in the living room, right off the base of the stairs. There were clocks in every room of course; the cuckoo clock and grandfather clock were his two favorites. He loved the grandfather clock most of all. Every 15 minutes it played a piece of The Bells of St. Martin. On the hour, it chimed. My bedroom was at the top of the stairs, so I heard it every 15 minutes all night and I loved it (no I didn’t.) Through many moves and downsizing my dad’s favorite clocks found different homes.
Fast forward many years later and my dad again had a new and very much beloved grandfather clock and a cuckoo clock. I wish I could capture the pleasure those clocks brought him, especially the grandfather clock. Daddy was able to get the clock at a discounted price because there was a small crack in a small piece of side glass near the top. You never saw the crack because of the way it was situated. My dad was never much of a housekeeper, but he tended to his clocks. Especially his grandfather clock.
We moved from Houston to Austin in 2013. My parents were kind enough to move also, their new home just 15 minutes from ours. My parents showed great courage in making this move. They were in their late 70’s and early 80’s and Houston had been home for 50 years. After we had been here about six months, my dad was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was severely dehydrated, his heart rate was dangerously low and he was in acute renal failure. After a week, the addition of a pacemaker and lots of hydration, my dad was discharged from the hospital to skilled nursing for rehab. While at the nursing facility my dad’s decline became brutally apparent along with the toll it had taken on my mom. His needs were far too great for her. So he became a full time resident.
Now my mom was in a home considerably larger than she needed or wanted. And as my mom is not one to sit still, she started whittling away. She gave her Christmas decorations to the nursing home. She gave furniture and clothes to its staff. She hauled stuff to Good Will. And all this before we decided she would live with us. Once we made that decision, she went into hyper-drive.
My mom would be living in a cottage, about 750 square feet. Every square foot was precious, so she planned and organized, made charts, moved little cut outs around to determine what she could take and what she could not. There simply was no room for my dad’s beloved grandfather clock in her new home. There was no room in my home either and though I felt guilty, I did not want it. We would consign it or give it to Good Will or the Salvation Army. It turns out that because of small crack in the small piece of glass near the top, the consignment shop wouldn’t take it. Neither would Good Will or the Salvation Army. What to do now…
Please understand this was emotional for me, I felt I was letting my father down, dishonoring him. I did not want the clock and neither did anyone else. I ended up taking it to the Thrift Store near the nursing home and I was overwrought with guilt.
Then my sister spoke some magic to me. She told me that the clock would go to someone who really wants it. And that will honor Daddy. And she was right. And I felt better.
I tell this story because we all have our own unique grandfather clocks and other precious stuff. Stuff that we’ve collected over a life time. Stuff that represents precious memories. Stuff that helps define our life. And at some point we’ll part with it. Some will go to children and grandchildren, friends and associates and they will be delighted and honored. And some will go to strangers, and please know that they will be delighted as well.