Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tick Tock

I have a clock.

A beautiful clock.

It was my grandparents clock... akin in size and stature to the "grandfather" clock, but slightly smaller... a "grandmother" clock.

It stood proudly in the space to the right of my grandparent's china cabinet in their dining room for as long as I can remember (and very likely, as long as I've been alive.) It chimes every quarter of an hour, each time lengthening its chimes until it reaches the next hour.

When my grandfather died and my grandmother eventually closed up the Harding Avenue house to move to a retirement home, a lot of her furniture was passed on to relatives near and far. Her clock though, well that was a special piece.

It went with her first to the retirement home, and then to the smaller, full-time care home she moved to in the years preceding her death. Yes, she managed to cram it, along with a few very special pieces, into her small bedroom. So she could hear the tick-tock and the chimes as each quarter of an hour passed.

When she died, those few remaining special pieces of furniture, pictures, and memorabilia were distributed to the family members she had carefully and thoughtfully chosen.

And the clock - it went to me.

During one of my visits, when she was first settled into her one-bedroom apartment in the retirement home, we started talking about the clock. I can't remember how we started talking about it - but we did - and how we both loved the soothing sound of the tick-tock, the lulling sound of the chimes every quarter of an hour.

She looked at me, straight in the eye, and asked "will you take care of my clock after I'm gone?"

I remember being taken aback at her blatant acknowledgement of death. I didn't want to talk about what life would be like after she died - nor of what would happen to her estate.

"Of course I will, Nonna" was the reply I could squeak out.

I'd somewhat forgotten about that exchange - until after she passed away several years later. My mom reminded me that my grandmother wanted me to take care of her special clock.

It now stands proudly in the corner of my formal living room. And the sounds of the tick-tock still soothe my soul - and the sounds of the chimes every quarter of an hour can still lull me to rest.

As I think of my grandmother.

And her dining room from so long ago.

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