Thursday, January 10, 2019
Submitted to dVerse
January 8, 2019
It’s a rather gaudy china mantel clock, but it is a treasured possession to me. It conjures memories of a long ago time when a traveling carnival came to the small town near where we lived. I was perhaps 7 or so. I remember my excitement as we walked among the pitch-penny and ball-toss tents, with the large prizes on display. A china mantel clock caught my father’s eye. It could be his, the hawker said, if he tossed 3 of 5 balls in the pocket, 3 balls for a quarter, I seem to recall. Each time my father fell short he eyed the clock and reached in his pocket for another quarter. And when his quarters were gone, he got out the bills. He was on a mission. My mother, who could make two nickels scream for mercy, kept pleading for him to stop, but he soldiered on, and finally the clock was his. I don’t remember how much the clock cost, but they had little, and it seemed much. Dad beaming and Mom grumbling, we took the clock home. Dad built a niche for it above the kitchen cabinets, where it marked time for all my years of growing up, often a topic of conversation with visitors. The clock moved to town with them when they retired from farming, where it marked the time of their last years. Today, the clock sits on a shelf in my den, marking the time of my own last years.
It’s said “Memory is like a child walking at a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things”. Just so is the memory of that long-ago evening, and the winning of the china clock.