Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Heartbeat of the House

When I was a very little girl, my daddy brought home a clock for my mama. It was a chiming mantel clock, about a foot and a half tall, with wide carved "wings" around the clock face, and a gilded pendulum swinging back and forth behind a little glass door that had curlycue designs in gold leaf.
In a house with four children, there are few quiet moments, but occasionally in a lull in the chaos the tick-tock-tick of the clock could be heard. The chime sounded once one the half-hour, and chimed the time on the hour. It was so much a part of our home that we rarely noticed it except when it ran down. It had to be wound every eight days. Daddy wound the clock on Sunday nights, setting the hands carefully, and dusting the heavily carved case. No one else ever touched the clock.
The chimes sounded day and night, and during the night, if I woke up, the clock told me if it was middle of the night, or nearly time to get up. If for some reason it wound down and stopped, I had trouble getting back to sleep.

When I married and left home, my darlin husband bought a chiming clock for our house. It wasn't an antique, but it did have a swinging pendulum, and it chimed on the hour and half hour, and its tick-tock-tick measured our nights and days, keeping me company when I was up late rocking a sick baby, and tracking the minutes when one of our teenagers was late coming home.

When our house burned, the clock was one of the things we lost. We replaced it with a pendulum clock that hangs on the wall. Since we currently live in our RV, the clock is in storage. I miss the ticking and the chiming.

When our little cabin is finished, when we are retired and living there, one of the first things I plan to do is hang the clock, and set our home's heart ticking again.