"Is your father still alive?", I hear the clock maker say as I stare into the empty cherry wood shell of my father's grandfather clock. I shake my head sadly and he replies, pointing to the casing, "Oh yes, he is!" I smile, because he's right.
Few household purchases are as unusual, and as emotional, as a grandfather clock. Jim Pearl, president of Pearl Grandfather Clocks was quoted as saying, "People don`t buy one because it's a decorative accessory. They buy it because of what it represents--a very strong tie to the past. It is roots... heritage."
My father's grandfather clock commemorated his 60th birthday. He enjoyed it immensely for the next 13 years. It's sonorous chimes marked moments and memories both good and bad over the years, silenced (unlike the song below) only when my dear aunt slept over (or couldn't sleep, as the case turned out....).
Several years following my father's death, the clock was generously gifted to our family and my husband has become a most worthy caretaker of this stately timepiece.
As we have since learned, these clocks, not unlike pianos, require regular professional maintenance for peak performance. Following our recent stint with the painters (shudder), the clock has been losing time at an unacceptable rate (that is to say - as I lie in bed at night with my eyes closed, suffering from insomnia, I'm never quite sure how badly I'm going to feel in the morning.....).
Russell Andrews to the rescue. Russell's family is now THIRD generation clock repair. Russell understands the nostalgic tug elicited by this cherished timepiece. He cradled the inner mechanism that he removed for service as a parent holds a newborn, resting each piece lovingly on a cushioned bed for transport. Russell encouraged me to write down the story of the clock and offered to put it inside when he returns on Erev Yom Tov to restore the mechanism into its housing. I think I may just do that......
.... but for the next few days, the house will be eerily silent.... missing my father's "voice".