Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Clock

In a hurry to get to work, I grab mother's medicine baggy filled with seven pills and head down to her house. I jump out of the car and notice that the baggy is open with one pill remaining, an "Aleve." By this time mother has opened the garage door and is wondering what has happened. By far, this isn't the first time I've managed to somehow lose mother's medicine somewhere between my house and hers. Once I had thrown it in the garbage trailer with a trashbag I had tossed out that morning. Another time, I returned home to find the dog actually "ate it" recovering the bag with teeth marks and no pills. I began looking hurriedly over the driveway, searching for six important medications. With unfruitful results, I assured her that I would bring another supply later in the day.

The pills aren't the only thing that she and I have been in search of. My mother is the owner of a beautiful grandfather clock made of cherry wood, which stands proud and tall in the living room. This clock has been a member of the Gibson and Williams family for some 40 years now. As a teenager living at my old homeplace, I would lie in bed at night, worrying about something needless or thinking about a day gone wrong, when mother's clock would chime throughout the house, telling me I'd better get to sleep before morning came. Today, the old grandfather clock is in need of repair.

My brother Jay is basically the only family member who has ever tried to fidget with the old clock only to do a possible winding or so. He has come for a visit and sees that one of the chimes has fallen off. This being a chore larger than he can accomplish, he calls my Uncle Lawrence, a man who has gained a reputation as someone who tinkers with clocks and the like, to see if he might know what to do. Uncle Lawrence is my deceased daddy's baby brother. I see him about once a year. Last year, I was walking through a thrift store and happened to see the back of someone's head that looked like my dad. I began to walk over to where he was and just as I reached him, he turned around. I was startled to see just how much he looked like my dad. I remember crying all the way home that day, thinking about how much I missed daddy.

Uncle Lawrence tells my brother that he'll be glad to come over and take a look at the clock. Upon examination, he decides to carry the clock back to his house for a closer diagnosis of the problem. As the two are carrying it out of mother's house, it slips, doing minor damage and spilling some innards out. Prior to this episode, Jay had noticed something lying in the floor, he picked it up and saw that it was the number "8" which had fallen off the clock. He stuck it up on a ledge inside the clock, thinking that one day it would need to be repaired. As Uncle Lawrence reaches his house and begins to take inventory on the clock mishap, he notices that the number "8" is missing. He calls my brother telling him about the loss. Jay informs Lawrence that the number "8" had been inside the clock and must have fallen out when they had their little accident. The next call is made to me so that I can be on the look out for this eluding number. Of all the things that I have searched for in my life, I must say that this is the funniest and most unusual item.

I have also put mother on alert by writing it down in huge blue letters on her writing tablet, "KEEP ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE NUMBER EIGHT!" I mention to her that Jay and Lawrence had lost the number while moving the clock. She tells me that she must have been gone when they did it because she hadn't seen Lawrence in years. I assured her that he was there the day before and for some reason, she takes my word for it.

So far, the number has not been found. The old clock is the subject of the day now for mother, only because it is written on her tablet. When I become tired of hearing it, I'll remove the note and she will forget all about it. Dementia does have it's upside from time to time. Or so I think.

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