Today, in my continued quest to simplify my life and modernize my home, I gathered up 4 pair of shoes, a set of curtains, a small set of Shakespeare's collected works, 2 bed ruffles, and a chintz covered chair. I also made up my mind to sell the clock.
We came to own the grandfather clock when we moved into our home, about 5 years ago. The seller, Ivy, a lively 88 year-old widow, was moving in with her children and would not have room for it in her mom-in-law apartment. As we strolled through the house with her after closing the sale, she paused in front of the clock. Her bright blue eyes misted over and she stroked the old clock-- as you would touch an intimate friend or lover. It seemed as though the by touching the old timepiece; she hoped to recall once more and hold in her palm--all of the wonderful days and hours; minutes and seconds that she'd spent in this place with her beloved late husband. The two great loves of Ivy's life are her husband and her garden. I say 'are' because Ivy is still alive and living a vital life with her family. Her health is extraordinary for a woman of about 94 years old. She still works in the garden, and even drives!
"Howard was a good carpenter," she told us with pride.He'd constructed the window boxes for her so many years ago. I glanced out the living room window at them...they were filled to the brim with sweet pink geraniums and cascading white alyssum. So delicate and lovely- so like her. There were roses of every hue, Shasta daisies, towering blue spruce, hedges of boxwood, scarlet rhododendron...all carefully and lovingly planted by Ivy and Howard over the course of their lifetime together. And now she would have to leave it all behind...even the clock.
"Would you like to buy it?" her eyes brightened with hope.
I didn't hesitate.
"Oh yes, I'd love it." I knew in my heart that the only bit of consolation she would have in leaving her home, was the thought that Kelly and I would have the same love for her home and for one another- as she'd had with her Howard. So the clock, and the house became ours.
But the clock is out-dated by today's standards...and it's oak. So is my table, my hutch, and my gi-normous victorian bedroom suite. I'd like to replace them all.
The clock face said 'Tempis Fugit.' I summoned up the words on Google-trying to determine a fair price to ask for it when I posted it on Craigslist. Tempis Fugit, according to the experts is not the brand of the clock. It's a saying. It means, Time Flies.
As I stood before the old clock, gazing into it's face-those words spoke to my heart. Time flies. Kelly and I are in our 50's--when did that happen? My babies are parents now. My grandchildren are growing like weeds. Every one of the grandkids, at some time or another, has delighted in standing before this clock, counting the chimes so that, even though they were too young to tell time; they could proudly turn and say..."It's nine o'clock Gramma!" How would they feel on the next visit to Grandma's, if the old clock was gone?
Even Heather, my daughter, paused a moment when I telephoned her to say that I was selling the clock. Though her taste is modern and she would love for me to update my house, she quietly said, "I dunno, Mom. I love old clocks. I still want a cuckoo clock everytime I see one- because we had one when I was little. I just can't get over it."
Maybe I'm being a sentimental fool, but I think that old clock was trying to tell me something. "Don't be in such a hurry for change...it happens almost imperceptibly; but rapidly, nonetheless. So savor your life, your moments together with you husband. Relish every day that you spend with family...and enjoy your life to the fullest." That's what the clock said.
So I dusted the old boy off and fixed the broken finial on top. I got out the dolly and shuttled my clock into the dining room...where I'm sure he'll happily coexist with my other oak furniture. And I think he looks quite content in that corner, right next to the window. Peeking out through the window, he can see the pink rose is in bloom that Ivy planted decades ago.
Who knows, perhaps in years to come, I'll be the one running my hands over it's antique face and saying wistfully to some young couple, "Would you like to buy this clock?"
|My dining room...with grandfather clock|
|A pair of lovely old prints flank my hutch.|
|One of my favorite pieces of art by Jim Daly. Tom & Huck Finn aren't getting much done, are they?|
|Grandma Strong's rocking chair. Kelly's grandma was so lovely. I had three children when Kelly and I married. She treated my children with equal fondness to all of her other grandchildren. I will always love her for that.|