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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Turning back time

© Another Day in the Country

There’s a song that Krista Detor sings called “The Clock of the World.” It has become my song — my favorite, the one you can play at my funeral some day because it speaks to me and what I believe.

The song talks about how time began long before we came into this world, long before we had any awareness that our days were numbered, and how it just keeps ticking along — whether we are aware of it or not — with people being born, marrying and burying — and how it will continue on long after we are gone.

“Somewhere a bell is marking what is passing and sublime,” she croons, “and the clock of the world, keeping perfect holy time.”

I imagine the clock of the world looking a little like the clock I just bought for my grandson for Christmas — much, much larger of course.

This clock caught my eye, and I called my sister over.

“What do you think about getting this for Dagfinnr?” I asked. “He needs a wall clock in his room.”

She eyed the clock a little skeptically, weighing the pros and cons of such a showpiece, with all its bells and whistles, gold embellishments, turning wheels, Swarovski crystals, and musical options, for a boy who was not yet 12.

“It’s either going to be an heirloom or a nightmare,” I said, laughing. “He is a musician, and the songs are classical.”

“Sure, why not,” she said, “I’ll pay half,” since it cost more than our usual conservative gifts at Christmas. “How are you going to get it to California?”

The transportation of the clock was on my mind as we stood in line to pay. I’m still figuring it all out as it towers over my second suitcase.

There’s a tummy-tickling excitement as I think of giving this clock to Dagfinnr. Clocks always have been important in our family lore.

It began when my father received a pocket watch at age 8. One day, his mother went to Marion with her friend Carrie and left my dad home alone.

He was already a curious kid, wondering how things worked, and he took off the back of that watch, fascinated by the moving gears. He poked around, touching and disconnecting until the innards of the watch sprang apart and he couldn’t get them back together properly for the life of him.

When his mother came home, she announced that she had a surprise for him.

“I bought you a chain for your pocket watch,” she said. “Hook it on so you won’t lose it.”

And then there’s the story of when I went horseback riding without my parents’ permission and lost in an alfalfa field the Bulova rose-gold watch that my dad gave me for my eighth grade graduation.

I about died! When Dad found out, he was not merciful, but fate was. When the man who owned the horse and the field cut his hay, he found my watch — still working.

So clocks stand out in our family lore, and time always has been of prime significance. After all, my father was a minister, and the end of the world was of great import in his weekly sermons, with the hands of the clock poised at three minutes before midnight and ticking.

For sure this Seiko Collector’s Edition with Swarovski crystals that plays 30 classical pieces of music will be the subject of conversation for years to come, like the stories we tell of unusual gifts my mother gave her kids and grandkids.

I hope it’s a hit, but it may go down in the annals of time along with the Green Stamp baby stroller toy that was too small for my sister to push around and a huge disappointment on Christmas Eve.

There was a baby doll dressed in a bridal dress that I received when I was probably 11, when my mother found the former on sale and purchased it months before she discovered I had my heart set on a bride doll like my other cousins were getting.

My daughter remembers wanting a real fur muff for Christmas. She told my mother about her heart’s desire, and Mom — ever the thrifty lady — made a muff out of fake fur she’d gotten on sale at her favorite fabric discount store. Not only did it shed, but it was huge, with long straps so Jana could “grow into it,” and Jana was horrified.

Just in case the “Clock of the World” is not as eagerly received as I hope, I’m keeping the receipt so that I can return it.

We don’t always get a chance to turn back time, so to speak, but I’m willing to risk it, on another day in the country. May your holidays be memorable, too.

Last modified Dec. 24, 2018

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