“Michael, you are going to have to look after Mom and Dad. Gather your things.” The SWMBO said in her most endearing voice.
She was referring to the ‘Octogenarians’; the Wicked Witch of the West (Mario) and he who does not/cannot/will not listen (John).
“Yes, dear. How long will I be staying…just to be sure how many of “my things” I will need to gather?” I said over my shoulder as I made some futile adjustments to my clock. It is a two hundred year old case, mostly, with a great number of original workings; the balance found on “Stealitback.com” and canabalised parts from more contemporary clocks. It runs 2 minutes, 38 seconds slow in any given 24 hour period; as close as I will ever get.
Between 2100 and 2130 every night I Wind the clock and the chimes and set it just short of 3 minutes fast, every night that I’m home. “How long do you think I’ll be there?” I said a bit louder.
“Johnnie will be coming down to help out after his trip to Hawaii, he is going to need to get his things together; close the house, take care of his mail, visit the cousins…oh six to eight weeks.”
“They are your parents; you, John, and Chris…is Chris coming down to ‘help out’?”
“Johnnie’s doing all he can, Chris is just too busy and you know I have to hold down my department. And you, you’re not doing anything…you’re retired.” The SWMBO walked from the kitchen to the living room, TV remote in her hand, “Pack for a week, I’ll relieve you after that.”
“Gotcha. Hon, please remember to wind the clock.”
Nine days later I received a rare call from the SWMBO, it was 1000, “Yes, luv?” With the SWMBO it was always best to ask what she wanted first; the conversation was going to get there soon enough.
“I’m having a miserable day, everyone knows how hard it is on me, Mom having cancer, and with the chemo side effects, everyone thinks I should be with her. Well, at least I’ll beat the traffic. Make sure you have finished their back yard.”
“Its been three years since a self respecting rake would be caught dead in that forest. How do you expect me to have it cleaned up. Did you forget I’m feeding your mother and father, arguing with both about any PT and carrying her up the stairs to bed. You do know that she can walk up stairs perfectly well and all of this is just to torment me, don’t you?”
“Whatever, I’ll be there soon”
Not long after the garage door open, I was certain it was to the sound of trumpets sounding.
“Hello, Mom. How are you doing?” The SWMBO yelled out to the living room not looking for a response; from the corner of the couch a small, frail looking figure with very thin silver hair mumbled…something.
“I was going to talk to him about that right now, don’t worry.” The SWMBO’s superhuman powers were astonishing (and not a trifle scary).
“I know you wanted to take your little fishing trip, after the chemo and all…”
“That won’t be for three or four months and I am taking “my little fishing trip”…and?”
“We’ve talked about that, and you’re spasms…you need to use your cane so much now…and your voice…well we, Mom, Johnnie and I feel you would not be safe, wading in streams, you could fall…and…and drown; we really can’t let you do that.
“Oh when you get to the house, the lawn is a mess; take care of that, walk Duchess and QVC has a Quacker Factory program at 6:00pm, I’ll need to be home for that.”
“Gotcha, back in five hours.”
“Oh, Michael, Johnnie’s been delayed another week. Love ya.”
The garage door at the house squeaked a bit, I’ll need to lubricate that. I walked through the door from the garage into the living room, my 18 year old puppy, the cats Poe and Callie were all asleep on the couch; Alix would be stretched out to capture the sliver of sunlight that escaped the blinds in the office at this hour.
The house was quiet, save Callie’s snore and the silence was ripping a hole in an already injured heart.
There was no ticking as the pendulum would have swung, back and forth; the dark wall clock, with the two hundred year old case, mostly, was quiet.
The clock hadn’t been wound.
I took the ten minutes to properly set the time, wound the clock, set the pendulum in motion. I watched the slow movements of the hands now set almost three minutes ahead. Content that the world was right again, I shut and locked the case.
“Duchess, baby” I said as I scratched her ears and kissed her head, “Let’s go for a walk and I’ll leave the leash on so you’re not committed to chasing the rabbits. And then treats…before I mow the lawn.
peace out, pilgrims