instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

What We Keep

Present tense irregular

I have always thought that a mad aunt locked in the attic gave a household that certain je ne sais quoi that lent a literary feel to the whole establishment. Now we have the next best thing, a mad grandfather clock. It’s really more a great-grandfather clock, that being who it belonged to, and apparently it has lost its ability to count, perhaps the first sign on the road to clock dementia.

Keeping it running has always required regular house calls from the Clock Man, a mad genius whose idea of fun in his off hours is reassembling clockworks. Occasionally it gets grumpy and stops chiming, and he came out so many times to fix it that he taught my husband how to reset the chimes. Apparently it doesn’t like being fooled with by amateurs. It has started chiming again but in an odd pattern. Mostly, it chimes one, two and three quite adequately, then starts with one again at four o’clock, two at five, and so on until it gets to nine, at which point it chimes seven, then gets on the spot with ten at ten and good for eleven and twelve.

It requires interesting math to keep time by it. It’s striking four so it must be seven. Time to get up. Unless it really is four. Is it dark outside? No. It must be seven. You can’t quite trust it. It may really be four or it may just be sulking.

We had high hopes that it was actually self-correcting for a while when it started chiming eight at nine, but last night the hour hand began dangling at six no matter what time it actually is, and this morning the minute hand fell off and is wedged somewhere in the bottom of the case.

We have called the clock psychologist.
Be the first to comment