Monday, August 20, 2012

The Story of a Small Clock

I grew up in a family where the home was always filled with the sounds of ticking and chiming clocks. It was simply the sound of familiarity, comfort, and even security. My father loved clocks. He would rescue them and fix them. Every evening at the same time he would wind them and pull the weights back up so they would carry on with their responsible job of letting us know, minute-by-minute what time it was. I loved those clocks and my father's dedication to them.
When my father had passed away and my brother and three children were moving my mother out of her house, it was rather a hectic and emotional time for all of us. When everyone was gone and my mother and I were left in the house alone one last time, we both went from room to room trying to capture the memories. I opened the guest bedroom closet upstairs and discovered this sweet little clock on a shelf way in the back, nearly hidden by other things. I had always loved this small clock because it was not really "important" and it was the one thing I carried out to the car as we left the house permanently.
The two things my father was passionate about were his clocks and his annual summer trek into the Sierra Mountains with his brother. Would he have ever put a value on these things? I doubt it. His clocks were important to him because he truly loved his care for them and the enjoyment they provided each day of his life. Love of things and passions can have a monetary value, but they can also have a value that is immeasurable in terms of love. When my husband and I lived in San Francisco some years ago, I worked in an upscale antique shop near the financial district on Jackson Street. I would often hear the dealers say a piece was "important". A chair would sell for $50,000 because it was important. I used to laugh to myself about this. Well of course it was important if it had the right provenance and original finish or paint, and I understood this. However, there was also a kind of importance that was one of memory and love and care.
I painted this clock Old White with Country Grey underneath. I am not done with it. It is the only thing I have had time to paint in the last few weeks. And to say it has been a soothing and steady project is so true. This clock is only important to me. It has always been rather homely, but I have cherished it for a very long time. It is the only clock in my house that keeps ticking away if I am home to keep it going. It keeps me going too.

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