Grandmother Clock

The Grandmother Clock
I take the grandmother clock home from my mom's apartment

When my maternal grandparents got married in 1900, they got a gingerbread “kitchen” clock as a wedding gift from the bride’s mother. My parents had it from the time that I was born, fifty-nine years later. I think that it originally sat on the top of the old pump organ in the dining room of the house where I grew up. My memory is that it didn’t run until sometime later when my dad took it into get fixed, sometime in the mid-sixties. It was about that same time that he also bought a grandfather clock, one with the full sixteen-count, on the quarter-hour, Westminster chimes.  So, there was a stretch of time while I lived with my parents that there were two chiming clocks running. A fond memory.

In 2007, I put on the back of the “grandmother” clock a yellow post-it note stating that I wanted the clock. My mom was very keen that her children label those things that they wanted. So, with Dorothea’s encouragement, I did. In 2010, as we were moving my mother from assisted living in Sartell to assisted living in White Bear Lake, one of my brothers said that he’d always wanted that clock, and took it.  (With the post-it still attached to the back.)

Don’t know why, but after about a month or so, my brother brought the clock back to my mom’s apartment. At this point, fall, 2010, my mom was quite confused about the disappearance and re-appearance of the clock. So, I took it. The photograph of us sitting with the clock was taken with my iPhone on November 7. We’re sitting on a couch in the Cerenity Assisted Living lobby, in front of the dining room. It is a little before noon, and people are hanging out, waiting for the doors to open for lunch.

The clock is now in the spare bedroom/home office/sewing room. And, when I got it there, it didn’t work. Hard to wind and wouldn’t run for more than a few minutes. Then, one day, I moved it, pushed it over a foot or so, to make room so that I could put my laptop next to it, and lo! it started to tick. And it chimed and it kept going.

So, that is a little background on the clock, written on today, Monday. I am home from work, taking a sick day, recovering from the colonoscopy I had this morning. Oh, also: I have a suspicion that it is a haunted clock. Or that it could be a haunted clock. Might make a good Stephen King-like story. The main point that’d add some juice to the haunted angle is the 1923 suicide of my maternal grandfather. He shot himself at the age of fifty. My mom was nine. Complete Tombstone of Wheat sort of thing. (Actually: A gravestone made of wheat : stories / by Will Weaver, Greywolf Press/Simon and Schuster, 1989. So I log on to the library webpage, find the book listed, order it, but get denied. There is a problem with my library card. Oh, I will have to leave the virtual world and actually walk over to the library.)

But, with the clock, even though it is running, there’s a problem. It just struck one, but the hour hand is at four. (Wrote that bit, and what follows, this past weekend.) And here my mind wanders. Me thinks that me writing about my reality is no that different than the guy in Synecdoche, New York creating a play to encompass all of reality. (I just watched the Netflix DVD.) And, a further digression: This also is my colonoscopy prep weekend. Last night (Friday) Dorothea and I went to Rainbow.

Light it was when we went in, dark when we came out. I was moving slowly. Much slower than Dorothea’s usual grocery shopping pace. Bought food for my after-colonoscopy life per recommendations from MNCOME nutritionist. (Both Dorothea and I went to appointment with her on Wednesday morning.)

In the movie, Synecdoche, New York, he’s dying of who knows what. (The main character, Caden Cotard, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, gets nailed in the forehead while shaving with a sink faucet that goes—literally—ballistic.) To a lesser degree, I find myself somewhat mired in medical stuff. (Typical, typical middle-age stuff—cholesterol, threat of diabetes, screenings for this, for that—for colon cancer.) Parenthetically.

Need to digress and look up winding the clock chime. Was thinking that the last time I regularly heard this clock and the grandfather clock in unison was circa 1977, maybe the early 1980s.

Well, not having much success. I tried winding the right side, but won’t budge. I am thinking that is the chime. The left, I was able to make a few turns with the key. But while I am happy the clock is running and chiming, it is chiming the hour on the half-hour and once at the top of the hour. Also, I am concerned about the right chime, not being able to wind it at all. I was on the verge of paying someone $15 on www.justanswer.com but what I did was I moved the minute hand counter-clockwise just a little bit until I heard a click. The next time, the clock chimed the hour at the top of the hour. I am now working my way through the hours—just passed twelve and need to get to six. So, I am off with Dorothea to see the movie Cedar Rapids at the Riverview. (Saturday night.)

Upon return from the movie, the clock stops ticking as I watch, and I can’t get it started again.

And this ramble ends as I head off to walk to the library.

 

 

 

Dali Lama

Dorothea was quite keen on seeing the Dali Lama. He is in the Twin Cities this weekend. And, he is in our neighborhood—staying at the University of Minnesota president’s house and appearing today at the University of Saint Thomas. We walked the dog this morning. oohing and aahing the Tibetans and their colorful clothing as they entered the front of the huge new sports building, and walking around the block, stood on the corner of Finn and Selby. This seemed to be a strategic spot for Lama viewing, given that

  1. The street was blocked off at both ends by a couple of police cars
  2. There was another couple standing there on the corner, looking like they were waiting to see the Dali Lama, too
  3. The Dali Lama, running behind schedule, had apparently not yet arrived

We stood and chatted. The guy was a retired Saint Thomas history professor, and he and his wife live in the neighborhood. (Funny, retired professors don’t seem as old as they used to.) The cop across the street was entertainment as he tried to shoo away students in their cars, attempting to turn into the parking lot, now forbidden.

We never actually saw the Dali Lama. We did see caravan of vehicles—police cars and black Suburbans with tinted windows. We were able to walk down closer to where they parked and saw a freight elevator loaded with monks.