She finally got that grandfather clock.

by Dan
(San Diego)



When I moved into my new home last year, I inherited my mother's grandfather clock. Almost anyone who knew my mother knew about that clock. When I was old enough to not get into things, she told herself she wanted to get one. She kept talking and talking about it--and was saving up the money to do so.

Finally, my grandfather (her dad) told her he would buy it for her 40th birthday. She was absolutely thrilled. The trip to the nearest, good-sized mall that was two hours away was almost a banner event for her.

She was first up for the day, hurried my father and I out the door, and we met Grandpa for breakfast before he joined us in our car for the drive to the mall.

We shopped at other stores that day, but our first stop was the Howard Miller outlet, as she had been told by friends that Howard Miller was the best quality brand for clocks.

Especially grandfather clocks. I remember as an eight year old getting to wander through the store with my dad while my mother and Grandpa talked to the salespeople about what she wanted.

Being surrounded by the many grandfather clock models almost felt like being in a forest--I was short, and they were all six to seven feet tall.

But at the same time, it was fun, because each one was decorative in its own way and, while you could not touch the clocks themselves, there was a set of buttons outside of each one that would play a sample of the clock's chimes so you could hear what you would be buying.

Mom waffled between three different models for about an hour, unsure if she wanted ash, cherry or dark-stained oak wood for the clock casing. She finally settled on the stained oak Scarborough model, deciding that it would look better against the cream-colored walls in my childhood home.

The floor model's filigree clock face was standard for the model and she was happy with it. That left choosing a set of chimes.

All the clocks for sale had a choice of two sets of chimes--Westminster, Whittington and Winchester, or Whittington, Winchester and St. Michael's.

I helped her decide on the former because I liked the sound of the Westminster better. It may be silly, but to my young mind, it sounded like a grandfather clock should sound--solemn and steady. It also reminded me of a vacation to London, England--because it sounded a little like the famous Big Ben.

Now, the clock sits in a corner of my den, and every hour, chimes out the steady Westminster tune. For a change during the holiday season, I turn it to Winchester.

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