My Grandmother’s Clock

Grandfather-ClockIt looked majestic standing proudly in my grandmother’s living room.  Its towering presence captured you as you entered the room.  (There’s a lot of towering things around when you’re ten years old.)  Four times an hour it announced itself to everyone in the living room that it existed and was worthy of your attention.  I think my grandmother appreciated it most because it alerted her when “As the World Turns” and “The Guiding Light” were to begin.  (No DVR or recorders back then, you miss one episode and you missed who was brought out a coma!)

When my grandmother died the marvelous clock made its way through several relatives while I sometimes remembered it and wished I had it.  Oh well, a remembrance from her was gracing the living room of someone else.

A family gathering brought us together which gave me the opportunity to check on the treasure that was still buried for me.  The relative who possessed the magnificent dark cherry wood grandfather clock told me that she’d be glad to give it to me.  She told me she thought I wanted it but wasn’t sure.  “No problem,” she said, “I’m glad that you want to have it.”

I brought it up to my apartment and found the perfect corner for the perfect remembrance of my grandmother.  Carrying and touching it seemed a bit odd to me because it was not the rich wood I imagined but only a half inch veneer not to mention the battery holder  behind it.  When I heard the first chime I smiled to myself because of its tinny, cheap sound.  My cherished heirloom must have set my grandmother back, at most, $20.00.

A wise person once told me that “you are who you represent yourself to be.”  Umm.  Curious.  I had always thought life’s goal was to “be yourself” and to uncover “who you really are” as though there are solutions and answers to any situation.  “Who do I present myself to be” has become an important mantra in my life.  It’s too long for a car’s license plate but I can let it live deeply in my heart and soul.  Who can say what is real, unreal or unsure in this magical, mystery tour we call life?  “Authentic” and “genuine” should be reserved for leather products and car parts, not for human identity.

We are too important and fluid; we are those folks that everyone around us thinks are rich cherry wood when we really only have a battery behind our half inch veneer.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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